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VIDEO: 'Copter Caught '86 Tornado that Trashed Springbrook Nature Center

Flying over Fridley, KARE11's helicopter crew captured the twister on video at close range.

KARE 11 is recalling the day 25 years ago when its helicopter caught dramatic video images of a tornado over Fridley.

, where the tornado visited much of its destruction, also Sunday with a special event.

Greg Stern July 19, 2011 at 02:58 PM
i was trying tell everyone about the day I was within one block of the Springbrook Nature Center when Mother Nature put on the best show I have ever seen in my life! When the tornado touched down, I absolutely could hardly believe my eyes.
Greg Stern July 19, 2011 at 03:08 PM
I have seen the Northern Lites- I have even seen horizontal rain- I have even seen that tornado-I have seen blizzards like never before,(such as 1991)but nothing can compare to watching the tornado in 1986!
Chris Steller (Editor) July 19, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Wow ... that must have been amazing, Greg. Where were you exactly?
Eric Woytasek July 05, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Yep. I still talk about it. I saw it decending from the clouds and wanted to get to my girlfriends home by the river so I could protect her. (19 and stupid!!) I was driving my 1979 Dodge 024 past Kennidy park when it landed. It slammed the large oak trees to the ground and flipped an utulity van at the intersection. It pushed my little car to the pavement and I thought for sure the glass was going to bust out. In a few seconds it passed. I helped the guy out of the van and then watched it snap the power lines as it headed into the nature center. The helicopters were already there circling very close to the funnel. Those guys were NUTS!!!! Not only was the funnel snaking around, but it was launching entire trees, root systems and all hundreds of feet into the air. Eventually it broke into several smaller funnels twisting around each other and then disapated altogether. It almost got close enough to that resturant just off University. Does anyone remember the name? Something like theThe Loose Moose.
Michelle Lewandowski May 02, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Eric I must've gotten there right after you, cuz the AT&T utility van was on its side. The twister was just sitting there in the field by the nature center, spinning off the ground all white and then it would touch down and turn all black. It was so fascinating. It tore up a shed in the field and was just sitting there and rotating. I'd lose control of my car for a few seconds and then regain control. Sounds like we both got as close to a tornado and survived to tell about it. Unforgettable.

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