Clarks Grove tornado: Avoid town, 'friends and family only'

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Storm damage in Clark's Grove. Photo credit: Erv Pitzner

Emergency responders in Freeborn County, Minnesota, are asking people to avoid Clarks Grove and Geneva while crews work to clean up the damage left in the wake of Monday night’s storms.

Businesses along Main Street, including the fire department, fertilizer plant and some homes suffered the most damage. Numerous trees and debris were blown around, which also poses a hazard.

“As we shift into clean up mode, I ask that only friends and family come to Clarks Grove to help clean up residential areas,” Freitag said in a statement. “You can also enter Clarks Grove if you’re employed here.”

No injuries were reported. The sheriff said one medical emergency was reported during the storm, but it wasn't storm-related.

Power was restored to Clarks Grove just after midnight, ahead of Xcel Energy’s predicated timeline. Xcel crews worked through difficult, windy conditions. Minnesota Energy crews also checked the meters of damaged buildings and didn’t find any gas leaks.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the damage in Clarks Grove was caused by a tornado.

An EF-1 tornado was also confirmed just north of the Twin Cities metro, near Zimmerman and Princeton.  The previous record for earliest verified tornado in Minnesota occurred was March 18, 1968, north of Truman. Get the Fox 9 Weather App to track the storm timing and impact, specific to your location.