A large tornado killed one person and injured two others when it hit northwest Minnesota late Wednesday.
The storm also damaged multiple farmsteads.
The deadly tornado hit east of Dalton, Minnesota, between 5 pm and 5:30 pm CDT. It moved through mostly open farmland in southeastern Otter Tail County, but at least three farmsteads suffered significant damage, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Within 30 minutes, storms left a 6- to 9-mile trail of damage. Early indications are that the tornado fell into the EF-3 category, with winds of 136 to 165 miles per hour.
The NWS said it also had reports of tornadoes in Pine Center and Garrison.
The Dalton area saw downed trees and power lines, destroyed roofs, debris picked up and left scattered around in fields, and even a car thrown into a home’s basement.
One person who witnessed the tornado said this was unlike anything he had ever seen.
“I have seen funnel clouds and have had them touch down, but I have never watched one start to finish, hit the ground and then take out my neighbors’ houses and stuff like that,” said Adam Fagre of Dalton. “To be able to see it for such an extended period of time and for how far it went, it was crazy.”
Following the tornado, deputies did house checks in the impact zone. They did not receive any reports of anyone missing, though one person died and two were injured.
Seth Nelson of Battle Lake was killed when the tornado struck the machine shop where he was working. According to Lt. Keith Van Dyke from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s office, the shop and a nearby home were “swept off their foundations and blown away.”
The Sheriff’s Office also reported that two people, Gareth and Linda Klimek, were injured during the tornado. They were treated at a hospital, and have since been released. Their home took a direct hit.
Luckily, the deadly weather hit mostly open farmland.
“If this had been a more populated area, this conversation would be a lot different,” said Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons.
Even still, the area saw plenty of destruction, including seven buildings like homes and garages.
Patrick Waletzko, the Otter Tail County Emergency Management Director, said that the county is trying to determine if it can seek financial assistance from the state to help the victims.
“The recovery is the longest phase of the whole endeavor,” he said.