MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The tornado that tore through the town of Wadena in 2010 left 4,000 community members working tirelessly to clean up the extensive damage.

From the air, it looked like a war zone. Homes were flattened; a church was destroyed; school buses were covered in debris from all that was left of Wadena Deer Creek High School.

“It was eye popping to see what a storm of that magnitude could do to a big building like that,” WCCO Meteorologist Chris Shaffer said.

WCCO was on the air for five-straight hours as tornadoes popped up all over the state that night.

“Of all the storms I’ve covered, that is the granddaddy,” Shaffer said. “I will never forget that outbreak that happened on this date back in 2010.”

In the years since, there has never been a tornado outbreak that has come close. Minnesota had only 15 tornadoes in 2013 — the fewest since 1990.

“We’ve had tornadoes since 2011, but I think people tend to remember the ones that either hit a city or community directly,” Shaffer said. “Obviously [in] 2011 it hit Minneapolis.”

Shaffer says the tornadoes of 2010 were the exception. It’s unlikely we will see an outbreak like that anytime soon, if ever.

“It could happen, I won’t rule it out, but that was such a massive outbreak,” he said.

Wadena Deer Creek High School was later rebuilt with a storm shelter gym. New homes were constructed. But the town — and the entire state — will never forget the power of Mother Nature.

“When there’s that much damage, it’s devastating,” Shaffer said.

Minnesota experienced 113 tornadoes total in 2010. That was a national record that year. The average in Minnesota is 27.

Kate Raddatz