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North Minneapolis Still Recovering 2 Years After Tornado

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Those scenes in Oklahoma are painful reminders for thousands of people in Minneapolis who survived a tornado that happened two years ago.

The deadly tornado that struck north Minneapolis hit on a Sunday afternoon and tore a nearly three-mile path of destruction. The deaths of two men were blamed on the storm. Floyd David Whitfield died when a tree fell on his van. Rob MacIntyre had a heart attack while helping his neighbors clean up from the storm.

The tornado damaged or destroyed 3,700 properties. The overall cost is estimated at $80 million. It’s been a long road to recovery for people in north Minneapolis.

Thomas Varien, a resident, said insurance replaced his roof and that of many others in his neighborhood. But that’s only half the story.

“It’s kind of a 50-50 thing,” he said. “A lot of the homes look really good…they’ve been repainted, re-stuccoed. They’re looking nice. And yet there’s a lot, for one reason or another, that haven’t been repaired.”

We talked to Phyllis Patterson on Tuesday. Half her roof blew off when the tornado hit. Now, she’s still working to repair the roof, which leaks.

“I would think that two years later things would be a little better, but some people are still struggling,” Patterson said.

Urban Homeworks oversaw many of the repairs, it and hopes its community partnerships help set the tone for the future.

Officials with the North Minneapolis Community Response Team said this tornado allowed them to take a close look at the economic problems of the community. Louis King said the social and economic structure was broken long before the tornado. This disaster helped them get closer to the local government and form relationships.

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