48-tornado outbreak lingers in memory 4 years later - KMSP-TV

48-tornado outbreak lingers in memory 4 years later

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HOLLDANDALE, Minn. (KMSP) -

It's been 4 years to the day since a record 48 tornadoes touched down in Minnesota, leaving 3 dead, many injured and a wake of damage and destruction that affected communities across the state.

For those who endured it, the tragedy seems to live on where it's hardest to erase -- in their minds. The historic outbreak brought vicious twisters that tore through small towns, including Hollandale, Minn. Nearly 300 buildings were damaged, and some residents lost their homes and businesses. Others, like Amanda Sommer and her children, were unscathed.

"We huddled down and said our prayers and heard it go over us," she recalled.

Sommer's oldest daughter, Brenna, was only 4 years old when the tornado came to town -- but she hasn't forgotten.

"I don't want that to happen again," Brenna Sommer said. "It really scared me."

Somehow, the swirling vortex skipped over their home -- and the Sommers are often left to wonder why.

"Why did it skip over us and our neighbors, who are hard-working across the field, lost everything?" Amanda Sommer asked.

Just a few miles from Hollandale, Sheriff Bob Kindler told Fox 9 News he remembers what the tornado outbreak did to Albert Lea.

"There were at least two tornadoes that touched down on the first storm and at least 30 homes that were destroyed, and -- of course -- one fatality in that mobile home," he remembered.

In one way or another, everyone in the town of 18,000 was affected by the wreckage left behind on June 17, 2010. Now, Bruce Jensen -- who owns a home about 3 miles outside of Albert Lea in Maple Island, Minn. -- admits he's worried about what the rest of the summer might hold for him. The intense rain and wind that set upon the area on Monday cost him 10 trees -- some of which were ripped in two.

A large tree splintered and barely missed Jensen's pick-up truck. By Tuesday, it had been lugged and shredded -- but his work isn't finished. His garage is now fragile and leaning.

"A good wind, I think she'll go," he lamented. "I had my Harley in there, lawn mower."

Despite it all, however, Jensen said his spirits are high. That's because the damage on his hands is nothing compared to what the folks who live in Wadena endured.

"I just couldn't believe the damage," Police Chief Naomi Plautz admitted. "There's still a small hole in our heart."

Most of the wreckage in Wadena has been cleared, but the same cannot be said for the wicked memories.

"Even though it was 4 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday," Plautz said.

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