MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sunday marked the anniversary of an important day in Minnesota weather history.

Fifty-three years ago, one of the worst tornado outbreaks in the state occurred.

On May 6, 1965, after an usually warm day, things turned violent just as Minnesotans were sitting down to dinner.

Shortly after 6 p.m., a strong F4 tornado touched down in Cologne in Carver County.

It was the first of six tornadoes that would affect nearly the entire metro area, prompting people to take cover and turn on the radio.

For the next three hours, WCCO Radio’s Dick Chapman and Charlie Boone talked listeners through the storms, even helping to track them.

In total, the tornadoes left 13 people dead and 500 injured.

However, the casualties could have been much higher if it weren’t for the advance warning from the Twin Cities Weather Bureau and WCCO Radio’s reporting, both of which are credited with saving lives.

The tornado outbreak caused $51 million in damage and affected six counties around the Twin Cities metro area.

Mike Augustyniak