The weather event that made KARE and Paul Douglas world famous (and respected). While shooting overhead footage of the Minneapolis Aquatennial on a hot muggy day on July 18, 1986 News11 pilot Max Messmer and photogtrapher Tom Empy discovered and shot live video of a tornado moving through Brooklyn Park. Paul Magers, Kirstin Lindquist, and Paul Douglas provided live coverage during some of the most vivid pictures of a tornado ever shot and broadcast live.


Joe Conry: Thank you, TC Media Now, for creating this. I was there, just a kid at the time – a formative experience. And now I’ll remember it even better. You are all rockstars.

Sue Vos: What a memory! I was on 694 heading east towards East River Road. The sun was shining, we could see the tornado and helicopters ahead, yet no sirens sounded for quite a while. Very, very scary!!!

Tom Weaver: Wow, a flash from the past. I was living in St Cloud at the time, my sons, age 1 and 5. Later Paul Douglas purchased the cabin on Pelican Lake the supplied so much enjoyment and outdoor education from 1947 – 2003.

Mary Simon: I remember driving to Har Mar and sirens going off. There was not a cloud in the sky. When I walked into the Firestone Store I saw KARE 11’s coverage then looked over Rosedale and there it was!

Steve: I remember it very well. Just left work heading east on 694 near 35W and it was sooo sunny out, but this one dark cloud with the funnel projecting downward. I pulled over and sat and watched it. Awesome sight.

judy B: WOW! I meant to take a peek, was so captivated I watched it all. I have watched current “Storm” programs but have never seen such graphic pictures. Thanks to that brave pilot and photographer!! Having missed it the first time, thanks TCMedia for giving me a second chance.

Tony: I remember actually watching this very newscast live! I was 16 years old.

Sharon: I watched this live as well from the KTTC-TV newsroom in Rochester. I was a college intern, and I have to say the ENTIRE newsroom stood mesmerized, even though we had our own newscast to prepare! Amazing newscast, truly.

Matt W: I lived just a few blocks from 85th and Zane where this tornado first touched down. I remember being outside with my Dad and seeing the funnel cloud pass right over our house, shortly before touching down just blocks away. A day I won’t forget.

Anthony: “The weather event that made KARE and Paul Douglas world famous (and respected).” I’ll respect him when he can actually get his facts straight. He says it looks like an F2, maaaaybe F3 tornado w/ winds of 200-250mph. An F2 (on the Fujita Scale at the time, which goes from F0-F5, not 1-5 like he stated) only has winds of 115-150mph. Then he says they’re not hyping this storm, which those wildly incorrect numbers do the exact opposite.

Tom: I was finishing my senior year in college as a journalism student when KARE’s coverage of this tornado became a nationwide sensation among journalists and scientists alike. Cheers to pilot Max Messmer and cameraman Tom Empey for having the RAW GUTS to chase this storm so closely, to get this fantastic footage and to bring it to their audience — and warn them of the storm — LIVE. You two gentlemen are LEGENDS as far as I’m concerned.

Gina P: I remember this day- I was 6 and I lived in St.Paul and we were playing on our Slip N Slide when the sirens went off. We (our neighborhood gang of kids) ran inside my house and saw this happening. It so happened that my cousin lived in Brooklyn Park at the time. The tornado was insanely close to his house and he and a buddy were sitting on their garage, drinking Pepsi’s watching it!

Scott T: We are coming up to the 30th anniversary of this amazing event. There has never been aEW live tornado from a helicopter in the metro area. Even today the video is truly amazing for a tornado in the northern suburbs. Today it’s standard practice in areas that are tornado areas like Oklahoma City to have a helicopter up in the air sending back live video of a tornado. I was 13 and like most people watched this live on TV and still remember this to this day. It must have been a shock to the anchors and it would be nice if Paul Magers (currently at KCBS in Los Angeles), Paul Douglas (running a weather forecasting company). Unfortunately Kirstin Lindquist passed away a few years ago. It would be nice if both Magers & Douglas would talk about that day which allot of Twin City residents watching this live on KARE 11.




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