Both of Minnesota's U.S. senators were in Fridley Friday morning, visiting City of Minneapolis facilities along the Mississippi River in Fridley's far southwestern corner.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL) toured tornado damage at the Fridley campus of the Minneapolis Water Works while Sen. Al Franken (DFL) met with local officials inside the City of Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility.
"I was glad and heartened that it wasn't so much worse," Klobuchar said in an interview after the tour.
Still, she cited several examples of the storm's power that she learned of during the tour: winds tossing heavy equipment inside a Fridley industrial building and damage that rendered a century-old brick chimney at the water plant unusable.
She said the tour showed her "extensive damage to a very important public structure."
The dollar amount of uninsured damage is important, she said, because it triggers federal aid if it meets a $6.4 million threshhold. Federal Emergency Managemant Agency (FEMA) will tally damage to Minneapolis, Fridley and other affected cities in the metro area together, she said.
(FEMA officials visited Fridley separately Friday morning, meeting with city department heads at City Hall, according to Fridley Police Lt. Mike Monsrud.)
'I Have to Get to Fridley'
Klobuchar said she was five years old and taking shelter in her family's basement in Plymouth in 1965 when tornadoes swept throught the Twin Cities and ravaged Fridley.
"I remember ... hearing about what happened in Fridley," Klobuchar recalled Friday. It was probably because of those memories, she said, that when she heard about Sunday's storm damage, she said to herself, "I have to get to Fridley."
All three of Fridley's representatives in Congress have now visited this week. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-Fifth District) toured Fridley for more than an hour Monday, making several stops in hard-hit residential and industrial areas.