• Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023


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Storm Damages as Many as 100 Homes in Minnesota

A possible tornado struck Forada, a city of about 160 residents in central Minnesota, on Monday, downing power lines and damaging as many as 100 homes, a county official said.

Julie Anderson, the director of emergency management for Douglas County, Minn., said there were no immediate reports of significant injuries or deaths in Forada, about 135 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

She said that rescuers went door to door to check on residents as utility crews cleared downed power lines and ensured that the lines were deactivated for safety.

She said the damage was limited to part of Forada and “wasn’t widespread.”

Speaking to KARE-TV from one hard-hit street, Stephen VanLuik, Forada’s fire chief, expressed amazement at the damage.

“Oh, the devastation to homes, vehicles, trees — it’s unbelievable,” he said. “In this stretch of road that we’re standing on now, if there’s isn’t something that hasn’t been hit, it’s remarkable.”

David Reller, Forada’s mayor, said that at least part of the city “did take a direct hit” and that many houses and structures were damaged.

He said that tornadoes are very rare in Forada and that golf ball-size hail had pelted the city Sunday night. “This is just a very unusual year,” he said.

The small city of Eagle Bend, about 30 miles northeast of Forada, was also hit, according to Michael Wisniewski, the director of emergency management for Todd County, Minn. He said that at least one home had lost its roof and that many power lines had been knocked down. He said there were no injuries or deaths reported in Todd County.

“Everybody’s safe,” Mr. Wisniewski said.

Earlier on Monday, the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities area had issued a tornado watch and classified it as a “particularly dangerous situation.”

“We do not include this wording often,” the office said. “The environment favors strong tornadoes and anyone in the watch needs to monitor this situation closely.”

Local officials had been warning people to take shelter on Monday, as the severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes approached.

The Weather Service said severe thunderstorms were forecast across parts of the northern Plains and the upper Mississippi Valley on Monday.

“Large to giant hail,” wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour, and tornadoes were probable, the Weather Service said, including the possibility of several long-tracked tornadoes that travel along the ground for long distances.

More than 72,000 customers in Minnesota were without power as of Monday night, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the United States.

“Stay storm aware, Minnesota,” Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Twitter on Monday afternoon. “We are watching the new round of storms coming in and have crews working to restore power as quickly as possible around the state.”