Rochester, MN Tornado, Aug 1883

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The 1883 Rochester tornado was an F5 (estimated) tornado that hit Rochester, Minnesota on August 21, 1883. It was one in a series of tornadoes that hit Southeast Minnesota that day, causing at least 37 deaths and over 200 injuries, and was the impetus for the creation of the Mayo Clinic. On July 21, two other tornadoes struck the area. An F4 tornado was one of a family of tornadoes that killed 4 people near Dodge Center (15 miles west of Rochester), and an F2 tornado devastated Elgin, 10 miles northeast of Rochester.

The first tornado touched down at 3:30 PM just 10 miles south of Rochester near Pleasant Grove. This tornado was approximated at an F3 and killed 2 people, injuring 10.

The second tornado was the large F5 that made a direct hit on Rochester. It touched down at 5:30 PM near Hayfield, traveling 25 miles before lifting back up after it hit Rochester. It killed 37 and injured over 200, mostly in Rochester. Forty farms were hit with at least 10 leveled.The northern third of Rochester was devastated with 135 homes destroyed and 200 damaged.

The third tornado, also approximated at an F2, touched down at 8:30 PM just 15 miles (24 km) to the east of Rochester near St. Charles. It killed 1 person and injured 19.

The tornado which struck Rochester on August 21, 1883, (at 6:36PM) killed 37 and injured many others. This was a large factor in the subsequent development of the Mayo Clinic.

Minnesota Tornado History and Statistics

View photos of the Rochester Tornado from the Minnesota Historical Society

Read articles about the Rochester Minnesota Tornado of August 1883. (below)

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