Saint Peter to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of 1998 Tornado

Veteran WCCO news anchor Don Shelby will host the event on Thursday, March 29 at 5:15 p.m. in the Saint Peter High School Theater.
Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by

(Photo from Gustavus Adolphus College Archives)

At 5:29 p.m. on March 29, 1998, an F-3 tornado ripped through Saint Peter, Minn., causing more than $120 million in damages, destroying approximately 400 homes, and taking the life of one boy.

By 9 p.m., the American Red Cross was setting up shelters in the broken community, eventually bringing in 600 workers from 32 states and serving over 40,000 meals as the town worked to recover. More than 10,000 people volunteered to help the Saint Peter community cleanup and rebuild following the tornado, which was part of a record-breaking March supercell thunderstorm that spawned 14 tornadoes in Minnesota.

On Thursday, March 29, 2018, the Saint Peter community will come together to reflect, honor the losses caused by the tornado, and celebrate the resiliency of the community over the last 20 years. Hosted by veteran WCCO news anchor Don Shelby, the program, “Twist of Fate: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Saint Peter Tornado,” will take place at 5:15 p.m. in the Saint Peter High School Theater. Free and open to the public, the event will include images of the destruction and recovery, stories from survivors, and a video featuring five community members who share their journey through the storm and beyond.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity to remember the challenges we’ve faced and to celebrate all the great things that have happened in this community since the tornado,” said Saint Peter City Administrator Todd Prafke, who began in his role just four months before the tornado struck.

“This is also a chance for us to publicly thank the thousands of volunteers who helped in our recovery,” Prafke added. “This is Minnesota, where people come together. We’re excited to thank them with one voice.”

Twist of Fate: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Saint Peter Tornado is sponsored by the City of Saint Peter, the Saint Peter Chamber of Commerce, the Saint Peter School District, Nicollet County, the Nicollet County Historical Society, and Gustavus Adolphus College.

1998 SAINT PETER TORNADO FACTS

Tornado on ground: 18 miles

Homes Destroyed: 400
Damaged: 1,200

Trees Lost: 17,000

Total Damages: $120 million+

Total volunteers: 10,000

Debris from Saint Peter was found as far away as Rice Lake, Wis. (130 miles).

Gustavus Damage:      $60 million
Gustavus Adolphus College reopened in 23 days and brought in a record-breaking incoming class in the fall.

More information is available at stpeterchamber.com/tornado.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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