Pawlenty declares state of emergency in Freeborn County

Published 6:29 pm Monday, June 21, 2010

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has declared a state of emergency in seven counties across the state — including Freeborn County — during the aftermath of last Thursday’s tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Included in the emergency order are Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena counties.

According to a press release issued by Pawlenty’s office, the order “directs the Department of Public Safety and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to continue providing on-site support and assistance to the affected local governments and determine the need for supplementary emergency assistance.

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“All state agencies, in cooperation with appropriate federal agencies, are directed to provide the assistance necessary to help local units of government respond to and recover from this emergency.”

The emergency order states that during the storms last Thursday an unprecedented number of tornadoes touched down in the state, resulting in the loss of life, widespread power outages and significant damage to personal property.

Specifically, three people were killed — one near Armstrong in Freeborn County and two in the northwest part of the state.

The tornadoes spawned three EF4 tornadoes across the state, among several others.

These were the first EF4 or stronger tornadoes in the state since the Granite Falls tornado of July 25, 2000, according to the National Weather Service.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale for measuring tornado wind speeds came into use in 2007, replacing the Fujita Scale.

Freeborn County’s EF4 tornado that struck the Conger, Armstrong and Manchester area on Thursday was the first F4 or EF4 tornado in Freeborn County since Black Sunday on April 30, 1967.

Other tornadoes in the Freeborn County area included an EF2 tornado near Kiester, an EF1 tornado near Armstrong, an EF3 tornado near Clarks Grove and an EF3 tornado near Hollandale.

The May Day tornado that struck Glenville in 2001 was an F2.

The governor’s release states the order is retroactive to Thursday and will remain in effect until the emergency status no longer requires emergency response.