T-storm brings tornado worries

Published 6:09 pm Friday, May 4, 2012

A storm cloud hangs low Friday to the southwest of Albert Lea, as seen from the West Main Street viaduct. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

A severe thunderstorm rolled through the region Friday, bringing a weak tornado to the area near Kiester and Mansfield and causing flooding on Main Street in Albert Lea.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Freeborn and Faribault counties. Sirens in Albert Lea sounded to alert residents. The warning for Freeborn County was canceled as of 6:45 p.m. Friday, and a severe thunderstorm warning was in place until 7 p.m. The tornado warning for Faribault County was canceled at 6:30 p.m.

People spotted a weak tornado north of Kiester and into southwest Freeborn County, along with rotating clouds in western Freeborn County and eastern Faribault County. Power was out for some in the Kiester-Bricelyn area. Trees were toppled in the area, and buildings were damaged. No injuries were reported.

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Another severe thunderstorm warning was in place for Mower County for until 7:30 p.m. A storm front continued south into Iowa and brought menacing storm cells that delivered heavy rain and, in some places, hail.


Spotters said heavy rain and, in some places, light hail fell in areas near Bricelyn, Alden, Armstrong, Kiester, Conger, Twin Lakes, Glenville and Myrtle. The storm grew weaker as it headed eastward. Albert Lea received heavy rain but no reports of hail or downed trees. There was flooding on Main Street. A railroad stop-arm was malfunctioning on Front Street.

A van travels through high water Friday evening on Main Street near the intersection with Clark Avenue after a storm passed through the area. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

One of the storm’s cells was on a line to strike Mason City, Iowa, head on, though the city passed safely. St. Ansgar also braced for a strong hit.

A tornado warning in place for parts of northern Iowa and for Faribault County were canceled around 6:30 p.m.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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