Strong storms leave behind damage across Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Strong storms blasted parts of Minnesota on Monday, leaving behind damage across the state, particularly in areas to the west.
A tornado watch was in effect for most of the after across the state due to the storms.
Some of the worst damage was spotted in the small city of Forada, Minnesota, just south of Alexandria. Photos and videos from storm chasers show significant damage through a neighborhood along Maple Lake, Minnesota.
Douglas County officials say that after search and rescue operations, there aren't any reports of deaths or major injuries as a result of the storms. There are widespread power outages, officials say, and some roads are blocked due to downed power lines and trees.
Officials tell FOX 9 the damage impacted 75 structures in the community of only about 175 residents.
"The whole landscape has changed," said Mayor David Reller. "There's going to be a lot of construction."
Further north in the city of Eagle Bend in Todd County, officials asked everyone to avoid the city for the remainder of Monday evening as cleanup efforts are underway.
Photos from the Todd County Sheriff's Office show damage to grain bins. (Todd County Sheriff's Office)
"Emergency crews are actively working to clear buildings and assess damage," the sheriff writes. "There are power lines down and many roads are impassable."
Photos posted by the sheriff's office along with the Independent News Herald Newspaper show damage to multiple structures including grain bins, a flattened barn, and other structures. To the south, closer to the Iowa border, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office shared photos on Facebook showing a grain bin knocked over near Lakefield, Minnesota.
Elsewhere, there were widespread reports of trees and branches down due to the storm.
Statewide, Xcel Energy is reporting around 20,000 customers without power.
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Overnight and Monday morning storms
In the 2 a.m. hour, tornado warnings stacked up along the Minnesota-South Dakota as strong storms started firing up. Storms tracked off to the ENE over the course of the next 6 hours. FOX 9 storm chaser Tim Purington reported the roof of his hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota was ripped off by strong winds.
At 3:30 a.m., an emergency manager in Renville County reported a severe thunderstorms pushed a grain onto Highway 212 near Sacred Heart, blocking the roadway.
In the 4 a.m. hour into the 5 a.m. hour, wind gusts of 65 mph were reported from Sauk Centre to St. Cloud. Those storms then pushed toward Little Falls and Mora, with wind gusts of up to 70 mph as storm moved northeast through Carlton, Douglas, Pine and St. Louis counties.
A look at some rainfall totals (inches) for Memorial Day through 8 a.m.
- Alexandria: 2.4
- Grand Rapids: 1.93
- Hibbing: 1.84
- Kimball: 0.67
- Mankato: 0.55
- New Ulm: 0.50
- Willmar: 0.47
Morning storm wind gusts
And here is a look at some recorded wind gusts during overnight and early morning storms in Minnesota.
- Olivia: 84 mph
- Sauk Centre: 65 mph
- St. Cloud: 65 mph
- North Redwood: 61 mph
- Rice: 60 mph
Stay sky aware while cleaning up damage
After sunrise, the City of Marshall in southwestern Minnesota reported trees and power lines down after 70 mph straight line winds. The city reminded residents to stay weather aware while cleaning up storm damage as there is another risk of severe storms Monday afternoon.
Memorial Day camping cut short
Just outside of Hudson, Wisconsin at Willow River State Park, plenty of campers were packing up early to avoid any risk.
"Everything is metal and canvas so you don’t know what’s going to fall and break your stuff or what’s really safe," said one camper. "I don’t even know where the shelters are or if there are shelters in this area."
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While the possibility of severe storms overnight Sunday decreased by end of day, the risk of tornadoes on Monday sent many packing.
"That is a little bit of a dealbreaker," said another camper. "A tornado is a little worse than just rain."