June 16, 1992 is a date which carries little weight for many outside of the tiny Minnesota towns of Chandler and Lake Wilson. However, today marks 25 years that those two communities were slammed by a F5 tornado in the midst of a widespread tornado outbreak that produced the 5th largest two-day tornado count on record, with 123 tornadoes touching down between June 15 and June 16. Touching down just after 5 PM, intense damage was visible early on in this tornado's track just east of Leota not long after the twister's inception. The tornado completely destroyed a two house farmstead; where the grass was partially scoured, a basement was left bare and the trees, utility poles and buildings were all stripped bare or absent entirely as it strengthened and churned its way northeast toward Chandler and Lake Wilson. At 5:18 PM, the west side of Chandler was slammed head-on by the F5 tornado. As it tore through the residential area of Chandler, homes were swept completely away and vehicles were thrown hundreds of yards and stripped down to their frames. Remarkably, there was only one fatality by this violent tornado, which occurred in in this town. Continuing its path of destruction over undeveloped land, the tornado eventually moved through the western half of Lake Wilson, once again causing widespread destruction before exiting town and dissipating.
On the ground for over an hour, the tornado traveled approximately 35 miles across southwest Minnesota. It had a maximum width of three-quarters of a mile in the Chandler-Lake Wilson area, where it was at peak intensity. This tornado destroyed more than 75 homes with another 90 homes, 10 businesses, a church and school damaged. The tornado caused over $50 million in property damage, resulting in more than 40 injuries and one fatality.
Despite the intensity of the event, little information exists of the storm. One image and a 42-second video are the only known images of the tornado itself; and less than a dozen images of the aftermath in Chandler and areas to the northeast of Leota are all that one can use to see what the tornado wrought.