20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, Weather

Tornado Kills 11 in Mankato

M.17.F.3.A Packet 113

August 15, 1946
A tornado kills eleven and injures sixty individuals in Mankato and North Mankato, and a second tornado injures 200 people in Wells an hour later.*

A little know fact about the United States is its distinction of the greatest volume of tornadoes on the planet, and also the most severe. June and August, historically, are the worst months for the Midwest and Southern Canada. During this season, the animus for these storms are humid warm fronts from the Gulf of Mexico mingling with colder and drier ones from the Rockies. Minnesota is situated on the northern edge of this region infamously known as Tornado Alley. ***

The twister that struck Mankato, North Mankato, and Wells on this day apparently only lasted for a “couple minutes”. Most trees were leveled, and those left standing were stripped bare like telephone poles. Cars parked in the town were blown roughly 50 yards into the ravine of the railway. Even a 27 ton grader blew into this gorge, and the whole tangled mess stopped rail traffic. ****

An anomaly of any tornadic system is the randomness of its damage, and this storm in 1946 was no different. For example, a prominent structure downtown, the Oran building, was totaled, but those attending a birthday party there, remarkably, all escaped injury. Conversely, the Melvin family turkey farm lost 4,000 birds. The body of a Mr. Wirig of Mankato was found over a half mile from where the storm hit his resort cabin. ****

According to the testimony of first responder Donald Wold, he hadn’t seen “anything like this since I fought the Germans in France”, and “people were lying everywhere”. Scrambling to accommodate the injured, a bread truck driver used its racks to haul 7 people to the hospital in Mankato. Two alert utility workmen shut the power grid down, and were later credited with saving many structures from electrical fires.*****

Those involved in the clean-up demonstrated resolve and resourcefulness typical of Minnesotan’s. Area small towns sent anyone who could help out. Local farmers used their tractors to “push and pull” as needed. The cities of Faribault and Blue Earth sent their street departments and highway construction departments to clear debris and begin the rebuild.******

Lord, we thank You for the light and dark of this event. You are Master of our Environment. You ordain and use weather according to Your purposes and the survival of the planet. You are Master of the soothing summer breeze in Honiara, the Arabian sirocco, the Scottish snell, the icy gales of Everest, and this Midwestern tornado of Mankato. Will You give us insight, Dear One, we struggle to comprehend the good You intend?

Forgive the judgments made against You in the aftermath of this storm. Will You specifically release those from Mankato, North Mankato, and Wells whose responses may have offended You? Will You forgive those who may have clung to their pain unable to look up? We can’t see Your purpose when a human body is flown a half mile in the wind. We fail to grasp the utility of the uneven attack of this storm; why does one family lose its’ flocks while another cheats death?

This prayer moves us to ponder the cries of the qoheleth, most likely written by King Solomon who was reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived.
“Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does a man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 NIV *******
Later, Solomon adds an insight into the relationship we have with our planet.
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4 NIV *******
He described the limits of human understanding nine times in his book as a “chasing after the wind”.

At first glance, this may seem one of the most hopeless books ever written. It is even darker because of the amazing learning and success of Solomon. “If the man who has it all can’t be happy”, one wonders, “who can”?

Yet he leads us to a clue in his phrases. Everything under the sun is meaningless, and a chasing after the wind. But what exists above the sun? What is unlimited by the laws of nature and the universe, but its Creator?

So we invite You into this tragedy past. Bring Your meaning. Bring Your life. We did not yet understand You on August 15, 1946, nor do we grasp the depth of Your purpose now. Come and bless Minnesota with Your Presence; may we sense that which is beyond our senses, and accept that there is more than than right now. May we stop “chasing after the wind”, look up, and find Eternal Wisdom after the storm!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** “Aftermath of the August 17, 1946 tornado in Mankato, Minnesota.”
http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimage.php?irn=10291189&catirn=11126964
*** https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/summaries_and_publications/tornadoes.html
**** Beitler, Stu. “The Evening Tribune”. Albert Lea, Minnesota. 1946-08-19 pg1 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946?page=0%2C3
***** Beitler, Stu. “The La Crosse Tribune” Wisconsin. 1946-08-18 pg1 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946
****** Beitler, Stu. “The Evening Tribune”. Albert Lea, Minnesota. 1946-08-19 pg3 http://www.gendisasters.com/minnesota/18697/mankato-wells-mn-tornado-aug-1946?page=0%2C3
******* https://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/1-2.htm

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20th Century, Architecture, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Transportation, Weather

High Bridge Blown Down

Unknown

Aug 20, 1904
A tornado traveling through Waconia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Stillwater leaves fourteen people dead and causes property losses of $1.5 million. The same storm blows down the High Bridge in Saint Paul, where winds reach 110 miles per hour, the fastest recorded wind speed in the metropolitan area at the time. The storm also has the lowest measured barometric pressure (23 inches) of any tornado, according to Snowden Dwight Flora, author of Tornadoes of the United States.*

Every decision has a consequence. As the ancient prophet Hosea once said, ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. But how did regular citizens of these cities ‘sow the wind’? Did they, or was this storm just a normal occurrence that is necessary to the health of the atmosphere and environment?
This I know of human nature, when tragedy strikes, many will attempt to deflect the awfulness of the event through blame. We don’t have the inner mechanisms to deal with great pain, and so we often try to externalize it. Psychologists call this process transference.

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Lord, what were the objects of transference in this event? Let me start with how we blame You, after all, this is an ‘act of God’. Will You forgive any residents of Waconia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater who placed the blame for this event on You? Will You forgive any judgments made on Your character? Will You forgive those who viewed this storm as an offense against them in person and property, and in turn held a grudge against you?
Lord, we blame others! For example, “The High Bridge wouldn’t fall if it was designed better? The engineers and architects are to blame!” For the folks of these cities that fall into this category; will You forgive them those judgments of others?
Will You forgive our bifurcated motives? On one hand we love technology. We love what is new, innovative, and ground-breaking. Simultaneously, we cling to the familiar, and many of us have deep-rooted skepticism of new ideas. Will You forgive the judgments made of those who offer us new ideas? Will You forgive the wrath felt by those who dreamt, designed, labored, and finished this High Bridge?
Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for this hardship? We place ourselves on trial in the courts of minds and give harsh sentences for imperfections. Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for lost crops, fallen barns, loss of horses and animals, and loss of human life?
Lord, You are just. You are truly the only right judge because You know our heart, our history, our thoughts, our motives, and our actions. Yet, You are merciful to us, and often reveal the fragility of our inner life and its immaturity in the most gentle and gracious way possible.
You are a good dad. We do not criticize our toddlers when they make a bridge with blocks and it crashes. We praise them, and encourage their imaginations. Will You make us a people that loves valiant failures and Pyrrhic victories as much as you do?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Catholic, History, Intercession, Jesus, Medicine, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Weather

Tornado Kills 31 in Rochester

unknown

Aug 21, 1883
A tornado sweeps through Dodge County, killing five, and then lands in Rochester, killing thirty-one. Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis convert their school into an emergency hospital, with Dr. William Mayo supervising.

Realizing the need for a permanent hospital in the city, Moes establishes St. Mary’s Hospital on October 1, 1889. This facility would evolve into the Mayo Clinic.*

This story is just like You Eternal Father! You turn a curse into a blessing, and usually use ordinary people in the process. Thank you forever for having a greater perspective on life than us! Thanks that You give insight.
I bless the benefits of the tragic tornado that struck Dodge county! Will you forgive any curses past or present on Dodge county? I ask for insight of the root sins of the county, and the future of Rochester and the Clinic. I bless the city of Rochester, the clinic, it’s employees, clients, in the authority of Jesus! I know that Your favor remembers both before our sense of time begins, and will continue after the end. May Your favor rest in perpetuity for the faithfulness of theses sisters’, Moes, and all who volunteered to work in the emergency hospital. Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**The rest of the story?  http://history.mayoclinic.org

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