Weather service reports several tornadoes touched down in ND, Minn.; no injuries reported

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Storms spawn tornadoes in North Dakota, Minnesota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Strong storms spawned several tornadoes that touched down in southeast North Dakota and western Minnesota, including one that appeared to have struck a farm house. No injuries appear to have been reported.

A video shot by a storm chaser showed a tornado touching down near a farm house in Wilkin County, Minn., and debris flying into the air as the funnel tore into the building.

The home destroyed in the video was near the tiny community of Campbell, Minn., according to a dispatcher with the Wilkin County Sheriff. But the owner, Al Kosel, 76, and his family weren’t home, and there were no injuries, she said.

The storms started in North Dakota and moved east into Minnesota, said Tom Grafenauer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. Touchdowns were reported between about 6:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. near Tyler, N.D.; Tenney, Minn.; and Fergus Falls, Minn.

“Most of this action was in Minnesota,” Grafenauer said.

One tornado appeared to be on the ground for 20 or 30 minutes, he said.

Dave Langenwalter told KVLY-TV in Fargo that he and his son had just gone into their basement when a tornado touched down just yards from their house near Tyler, N.D. The outbuildings were flattened and his garage was gone, he said. His car apparently was picked up and dropped several yards away. Langenwalter found it behind a nearby grove of trees.

Richland County Chief Deputy Gary Ruhl told the television station that “at any given time” there were four funnel clouds in his county in the state’s far southeast corner.

One tornado “came from the southwest, came through this farmstead and leveled everything off. It crossed the river into Wilkin County (Minnesota) and also destroyed a farmstead over there,” Ruhl told KVLY-TV.

It wasn’t clear Sunday morning exactly how many separate tornadoes touched down or what the extent of the damage was. A National Weather Service storm survey team was in the area assessing the damage and trying to determine exactly what happened, Grafenauer said.

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