23 years ago on July 23, 1987 the Twin Cities Metro area was hit with a powerful line of thunderstorms that produced tornadoes, damaging straight line winds and historic flooding rains.
Here is a look back at July 23, 1987.
Most of the day was sunny and hot with temperatures in the low 90s then in the late afternoon thunderstorms rapidly developed west of the Metro area.
Just after 5 P.M. one of the storms produced a strong tornado in Maple Grove that destroyed 14 homes and damaged over 300 homes and business - some tornado damage was also reported in Brooklyn Park.
During the early evening hours the northwest Metro was also hit with strong straight line winds of 70 mph which cracked windows at the KARE TV station in Golden Valley.
During the evening hours the storms stayed over the Metro area and continued to re-develop over the same hours producing tremendous amounts of rain.
The storms were redeveloping over the Metro area because a front stalled over the Twin Cities and the rest of southern Minnesota so instead of the storms moving off to the east as they normally would the storms were stuck right over the Metro area.
The thunderstorms continued into the morning hours of July 24th with the heaviest rains in the south Metro - many parts of southern Hennepin County ( Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Edina, Bloomington, Richfield, south Minneapolis, MSP International Airport ) picked up 6" of rain in about 6 hours.
The heavy rain continued over the south Metro and by sunrise on the July 24th parts of Minnetonka, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Edina, Bloomington, Richfield and south Minneapolis had been hit with over 12" of rain and even some +14" rain amounts were reported along the Edina / Bloomington border.
The heavy rainfall caused the Minnehaha Creek and the Nine Mile Creek to rise rapidly and turn into violent ragging torrents of water.
Flooding was becoming life threatening by the late evening and some streets were under so much water that boats were the only way to get into those areas.
Cars become stranded on Interstate 494 in Bloomington and people had to quickly abandon them for higher ground as the water rose over the roof tops.
The rain ended the morning of July 24th and as the sun came up people were getting the first good look at the damage around the Metro area.
Interstate 494 had to be closed for 3 days from Bush Lake Road to Highway 100 along the Edina / Bloomington border because the Nine Mile Creek had flooded the Interstate highway with 3' to 8' feet of water which was still 4' feet deep in spots in the late afternoon of July 24th.
A railroad bridge in Bloomington was destroyed by the flood waters and thousands of homes suffered significant water damage.
Many basements were flooded with 2' to 7' feet of water which even lead to basement walls collapsing. 2 people were killed by the flood waters.
The July 23 and 24, 1987 Superstorm really tested the Twin Cities Metro area.
Most severe thunderstorms do not become this strong but every 20 years it seems the Metro does get hit by a storm that does more than just some spotty damage.
It is interesting to note that 1987 was a drought year but the July 1987 Superstorm pushed July 1987 up to the wettest July on record.
The Minnesota Department of Resources has additional information on the Superstorm of 1987 at this link Superstorm 87 which shows maps of not only the July 23 and 24 rainfall but also a map of the July 20 and July 21 in which parts of the southwest Metro especially around Shakopee were hit with +7" of rain.
Jonathan Yuhas KARE 11