Tornadoes, strong neighbors and fast response

When the horrible weather hit I was surprised—like most of us—but also proud that almost the moment the tornado hit, city crews were on the scene and neighbors were fanning out to help each other.

With the rain still pouring down, our police and public works employees were on the streets, assessing the damage and beginning the process of opening streets.

My first stops were downtown, esp. the Convention Center, where we saw water coming into a corner of an exhibit hall, and Central Lutheran Church, where one of the beautiful historic steeples was bent. I also checked in on the Electric Fetus music store, which had roof and water damage but, true to form for a store that has survived pretty much everything, they were planning to be open again by morning.

The worst of the damage was concentrated in south Minneapolis, roughly south of Lake, east of Portland, west of 35W and north of 47th.

Traveling with Chief Dolan and Asst Fire Chief Fretal, we spent most of our time in the area around 41st. St. and 5th Av. That intersection had serious loss of trees but here—as in most of the city—almost every tree fell between houses. A couple in this area had garages that were completely leveled…one smashed by a tree, the other seemingly blown directly into the back of the house.

In spite of all the visible damage, police and inspections staff who were going door to door didn’t find a single person seriously injured….which was a real blessing.

Mostly what I saw this afternoon was neighbors checking in on each other, helping others pick of the debris and being very thankful nothing was worse.

I also was so appreciative of the great response by the city team…and that wasn’t an accident…..The Emergency Operations Center was activated immediately, the teams in the field knew what to do, Regulatory Services had people in the neighborhoods making sure all the contractors who showed up were licensed and bonded.

So far so good….at least all things considered. Please tell anyone that if they have any questions they should call 311….which will be open until 11 tonight. We also want everyone to check in on their neighbors. Even in a house where there may be no damage, a person may has sustained an injury so check in on those who could be alone.
And be thankful that while we lost some beautiful trees…we didn’t lose more.

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