Funnel clouds spotted in Becker, Otter Tail, and Wilkin counties on Friday; tornadoes tear through Willmar
GRAND FORKS - Spotters reported several tornadoes Friday afternoon in northwestern Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service's Web site.
There were strong winds throughout the region and heavy hail in southeastern North Dakota stretching into Minnesota.
Damage ranged from snapped branches in Wilkin County, Minn., to flipped farm machinery east of Mahnomen, Minn.
Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier said only garages and other outbuildings were damaged. There were no reports of injuries or lost homes, he said. In most cases, the storm tore off shingles and broke windows, he said.
Northeast of Grygla in Beltrami County, Minn., dime-size hail fell for an hour, a resident reported.
The same storm system apparently did far more damage farther south. Near Willmar, Minn., a tornado knocked down an empty grain bin, destroyed two turkey barns and damaged crops. Two workers in the turkey barns were injured.
The tornado also damaged a mobile home dealership and some homes just south of town.
About 4 p.m., the National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings, showing a line of severe thunderstorms roaring through northwestern Minnesota from Roseau to Detroit Lakes. Tornado watches, a step below the warnings in terms of danger, went into effect throughout most of the Red River Valley and northern and central Minnesota.
Police reported a tornado east of Mahnomen and tracked it as it moved north by northeast for about 13 miles. It snapped trees and power poles in its path, blew down farm sheds and flipped machinery.
To the north, police in Polk County, Minn., observed debris falling from the clouds, apparently caused by the same tornado.
Spotters reported a "large tornado" in extreme northeastern Mahnomen County and a funnel cloud in eastern Becker County.
East of Henning in Otter Tail County, Minn., a trained spotter reported another tornado.
Police in Becker County reported two funnel clouds east of Frazee, one of which touched down briefly.
A trained spotter reported another funnel cloud near Campbell in Wilkin County, Minn.
Strong gusts of wind did damage, too.
Near Baudette in Lake of the Woods County, Minn., 58 mph gusts snapped large trees.
In Lake Andrusia in Beltrami County, Minn., police reported winds flipped a boat. Trees downed power lines.
North of Campbell in Wilkin County, 80 mph gusts blew a shed down and flying debris broke windows in a house, police reported.
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