Biggest tornado reached EF4

Published 11:10 am Monday, June 21, 2010

Tornadoes that struck Freeborn County on Thursday evening ranged in size from as low as an EF1 intensity — with snapped power poles and snapped trees — to as high as an EF4 intensity, with winds of 175 mph, according to the National Weather Service out of the Twin Cities and Chanhassen.

The widest tornado reached a full mile in width.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale is a set of wind estimates based on damage.

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According to a release issued Sunday night, the EF4 intensity tornado touched in west central Freeborn County, two miles north of Conger on County Road 12.

The National Weather Service states this tornado initially touched down 2.5 miles west of Mansfield. It developed near the intersection of 610th Avenue and 60th Street at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, producing EF1 damage with snapped power lines and trees.

As it moved northeast, it grew in width to about 250 yards. Near 80th Street and County Road 2, it began producing EF2 damage, with crop damage and other roof and siding damage. A nearby barn was destroyed to its brick foundation, and a car was flipped over lengthwise, according to the weather service.

The tornado continued to the northeast and caused extensive crop damage about 500 yards in width.

Near County Roads 17 and 63, west of Conger, the tornado grew to an EF3 intensity, completely destroying three swine barns, resulting in the loss of 12 swine. Two empty grain bins were blown away. This location marked the beginning of crops being “completely raked,” the release states, with only stalks of corn left and soybean fields being almost unrecognizable.

After this, the tornado took a more easterly route across County Road 63, where it maintained its EF3 intensity and hit another farmstead.

The tornado continued northeast along County Road 4, raking the fields and toppling trees.

At this point, the tornado grew to 1,000 yards and strengthened to an EF4 intensity.

A farmstead two miles north of Conger was hit, destroying the house there and several other buildings. Nearly all branches were removed from nearby trees.

A car reportedly tumbled a distance of 3,200 feet, the report continues, coming to rest in a field east of County Road 12.

The tornado continued northeast across County roads 69 and 46, where it weakened to an EF3 intensity. As it crossed County Road 46 in Alden, a house was rotated off its foundation.

The tornado was about 700 yards wide.

At the same time, a satellite tornado developed and caused damage in the town of Armstrong.

The main tornado, however, continued to the northeast and was 500 yards wide. It crossed County Road 74, west of Armstrong, and caused EF2 damage to three farmsteads, one of which was the home of Ron and Kathy Woodside.

Tribune employee Kathy Woodside died from injuries sustained during the tornado.

The tornado crossed Interstate 90, just west of County Road 14, growing to one-third of a mile wide and re-strengthening to EF3 intensity.

Several farmsteads between Sugar Lake and County Road 14 were damaged.

From this point, at about 7 p.m., the tornado continued north and grew to one mile in width.

A house and barn were destroyed about one mile west of Manchester on County Road 25.

The tornado weakened to an EF2 intensity a mile north, where it damaged three full grain bins, at 1,300 yards in width.

It dissipated west of Hartland around 7:15 p.m.

EF1 tornado in Armstrong

The satellite tornado from the previous tornado produced EF1 damage with winds around 90 mph.

It touched down southwest of Armstrong at about 6:55 p.m. and went about one mile, with a maximum width of 100 yards.

It dissipated just northeast of Armstrong.

EF2 tornado near Kiester

This tornado, which touched down two miles southwest of Kiester, traveled about four miles, with a maximum width of 50 yards, according to the National Weather Service.

It began southwest of Kiester near the intersection of 20th Street and 570th Avenue at about 6:10 p.m. Thursday.

As it moved to the west side of Kiester, it weakened to an EF1 intensity.

It continued to the north as a multi-vortex tornado, producing EF2 damage to a grove of trees. It then moved to a cemetery about one mile north of Kiester, where several trees fell and gravestones were overturned.

The tornado dissipated at about 6:25 p.m.

EF3 tornado near Clarks Grove and Ellendale

This tornado touched down about two miles northwest of the Albert Lea Airport, near the intersection of Freeborn County roads 14 and 20, ending about five miles northwest of Ellendale.

It went about 18 miles, first touching down at 7:14 p.m. Thursday and lasting about 30 minutes. Its maximum width was about three-quarters of a mile. There were winds as high as 160 mph.

According to the National Weather Service, multiple farmsteads received significant structural and tree damage, and one house that was completely destroyed.

EF1 tornado near Clarks Grove and Geneva

This tornado touched down at about 7:15 p.m. Thursday one-fourth of a mile east of Clarks Grove, near the intersection of Interstate 35 and County Road 31. It ended near the intersection of Steele County roads 4 and 45.

The National Weather Service states winds were as high as 100 mph. The tornado traveled 14 miles and was as wide as one-third of a mile.

Damage included numerous outbuildings that were destroyed, numerous large trees down and damaged farmsteads.

EF3 tornado near Hollandale

The National Weather Service does not have any other information about this tornado, as of press time.