Rescuers were going door to door checking residents after a possible tornado hit Forada, a town of about 160 people in central Minnesota, on Monday, downing power lines and damaging dozens of homes, a said a county official.
Julie Anderson, director of emergency management for Douglas County, Minnesota, said there were no immediate reports of significant injuries or fatalities in Forada, about 135 miles northwest of Minneapolis. .
She said while lifeguards watched residents, they also waited for utility crews to clean up downed power lines and ensure those lines were disabled for safety.
“It’s a number of houses, but we don’t think there are hundreds,” Ms Anderson said, describing the extent of the damage. “We are thinking of dozens of homes.”
She said the damage was limited and “wasn’t extensive”.
David Reller, the mayor of Forada, said at least part of the town “was directly hit” and many houses and structures were damaged, although he was unsure of the extent destructions.
He said tornadoes are very rare in Forada and golf ball-sized hail pounded the town on Sunday night. “It’s just been a very unusual year,” he said.
The small town of Eagle Bend, about 30 miles northeast of Forada, was also affected, according to Michael Wisniewski, director of emergency management for Todd County, Minnesota. He said at least one house had lost its roof and many power lines had been knocked down. He said no injuries or deaths were reported in Todd County.
“Everyone is safe,” Mr. Wisniewski said.
Earlier Monday, the Twin Cities Area National Weather Service office issued a tornado watch and classified it as a “particularly hazardous situation.”
“We don’t often include this wording,” the office said. “The environment favors strong tornadoes and anyone in the watch should monitor this situation closely.”
Local officials had warned people to take shelter on Monday as severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes approached.
The Weather Service said severe thunderstorms were forecast Monday for parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley.
“Coarse to giant hail,” wind gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour and tornadoes were likely, the weather service said, including the possibility of multiple long-track tornadoes moving across the ground over long distances. long distances.
More than 86,000 Minnesota customers had lost 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 said wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon. “We are watching the new round of storms coming in and have crews working to restore power as quickly as possible across the state.”