15 years later: The St. Peter twister - KMSP-TV

15 years later: The St. Peter twister

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ST. PETER, Minn. (KMSP) -

The 15-year anniversary of the St. Peter twister fell on Friday, March 29, and on this anniversary, the National Weather Service is changing the way it warns the community about these storms.

Future tornado warnings are set to be in more detailed and put into categories that will hopefully help people take these warnings more seriously.

Tornado survivors Bruce and Susan Gray looked at photos of the destruction that ravaged St. Peter 15 years ago, and were reminded of the terror they felt.

"I heard like glass crashing all around us," Susan said. "The furniture was gone, walls were gone."

Their photos are still painful reminders.

"We were under this table and, he said, ‘I don't think we're going to survive this and we held hands.' He said, ‘It's been a hell of a life,'" Susan said.

The violent tornado tore through the small town killing a young boy and leaving millions of dollars in damage.

The National Weather Service is reinventing its tornado warning system hoping more people understand the importance of getting to safety when the weather turns bad.

"We do a pretty good job, especially with big-time tornados," National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Krause said. "But the real question is we still wind up with fatalities."

Future warnings will clearly communicate the severity of the threat.

"The question is, is there something about our warnings that we can do better, and that's explaining a little bit more about tornados, explaining the type of damage, then it just makes sense to try it," Krause said.

With the emerging technology like smartphone updates, there are more tools than ever to be ready for tornados.

"The back room now is reinforced, so it's like a bomb shelter," Bruce said.

The Grays ended up rebuilding and they still have each other, which is a testament to perseverance and taking the warnings seriously.

"Don't question," Susan said. "When they say there is the storm in your area, take cover. If we hadn't, we never would have survived."

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