Weather Service confirms several tornadoes touched down Monday in Minnesota

A car is seen crushed by a house.
A smashed car is seen on the property of Guido Neideroest in Forada, Minn., on Tuesday, after a tornado hit the community the day before.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

Updated: 1:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service has confirmed several tornadoes touched down in Minnesota on Monday — including one with 120 mph winds that damaged dozens of homes in the small town of Forada.

A survey crew from the Weather Service's Twin Cities office “found evidence of a multiple vortexes and a path width of at least a half mile” as the EF2 tornado swept through the town south of Alexandria on Monday afternoon.

A fallen down tree crushing a house.
A large tree was uprooted and fell through Mike Grove's property in Forada, Minn., during a tornado that ravaged the area on Monday. Parts of the tree went all the way down to the basement.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

Survey crews from the Twin Cities and Duluth offices also confirmed EF1 tornadoes touched down:

  • near Plato, west of the Twin Cities, with peak winds of 90 mph.

  • at Eagle Bend and other parts of Todd County in central Minnesota, with winds up to 95 mph. Buildings and large grain bins were damaged in Eagle Bend.

  • at Deer River in Itasca County, with peak winds of more than 105 mph over a 2 1/2-mile path. That tornado caused damage to "numerous homes and businesses" in Deer River, the Weather Service reported.

  • in Poplar Township in southwest Cass County, west of Pequot Lakes, with peak winds of 105 mph. It snapped power poles and caused significant tree damage.

Crews also found a 50-mile path of tornado damage across western Minnesota, from near Milan to near Glenwood. The damage to farm buildings, trees and power lines indicated maximum winds of 100 mph.

The Weather Service said there was a short gap in damage between that long-track tornado and the one that hit Forada but that further investigation was needed to determine whether it was a single twister.

In addition to tornadoes, the storms also brought straight-line winds clocked at up to 90 mph, and large hail. There were no reports of serious injuries or deaths from Monday's storms.

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Utility companies on Wednesday morning reported more than 8,000 customers remained without power across the state, as crews worked to repair downed power lines.

That's down from more than 35,000 customers without power on Tuesday.

But some of the homes and businesses still without power may face a long wait for service to return. Utility companies have said some of the localized damage to power lines is so severe that it may be several days before they can be repaired.

Damage from a storm is seen throughout a town.
Gary and Roger Krukoski survey the damage at Roger's shop in Forada, Minn., on Tuesday. A tornado ravaged the lakeshore community on Monday afternoon.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

Damage in Forada

Residents of Forada saw extensive damage to homes, boats and docks along the shores of Maple Lake.

Derek Lindquist said he was taking a nap when the tornado sirens woke him on Monday afternoon. He headed into a corner of his basement and then felt his ears pop as the tornado approached.

"It seemed like it took forever. It was probably five, eight seconds of lots of commotion and then it was complete silence and a little bit of dripping water," he recounted. "And then I figured, 'Well that wasn't so bad.' And then I came up and looked around and it was kind of a complete disaster."

Lindquist surveyed the damage to his property as chain saws buzzed in the neighborhood Tuesday.

A person throws a branch onto a pile of tree branches.
Derek Lindquist throws a tree branch onto a pile of branches on Tuesday as he and other Forada residents began the task of cleaning up their lakeshore community after a tornado swept through the area the day before.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

"I lost part of a roof, obviously all the trees in the yard," he said. "All three boat lifts are squashed. Just lots of damage. It looks like the house may have shifted on the foundation."

In addition to dozens of homes and other structures damaged or destroyed, Forada Fire Chief Stephen VanLuik said Tuesday that "a lot of vegetation is gone. You can see the lake from every road now, where you couldn't before. It's pretty devastating."

VanLuik said the storm hopscotched through the area, blasting some spots and leaving others untouched.

Forada resident Mike Grove was picking through the ruins of his house on Tuesday with his family. He said he and his family watched the storm com in across the lake. They all got down in the basement as they heard the telltale freight train sound. Then a cottonwood tree fell on the house, and one of the branches pierced all the way through the building and down to the basement where they were sheltering. No one was hurt.