Weather service: Up to 7 tornadoes hit ND, Minn.

Published 7:21 am Monday, August 9, 2010

Associated Press

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — As many as seven tornadoes may have touched down Saturday evening in southeast North Dakota and western Minnesota, the National Weather Service said Sunday. No injuries were reported in any of the tornadoes.

Weather service crews on Sunday surveyed damage from two of the twisters, including a strong one that hit near Tyler, N.D., about 7 p.m. Saturday. Meteorologist Greg Gust, in the weather service’s Grand Forks office, said that tornado was on the ground for about five miles and had wind speeds greater than an EF3, which range from 136 to 165 mph.

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“It was scouring a sugar beet field and pulling sugar beets out of the ground, so it had a bit of attitude,” he said.

The tornado also destroyed seven farm buildings and tossed a pickup truck about a half mile into a field, Gust said.

Weather service crews also looked at damage from a tornado in Grant and Douglas counties in Minnesota, but Gust said that one caused little structural damage to buildings. It was on the ground for 19 miles and had wind speeds of 86 to 100 mph.

Additional assessments were planned for Monday as the weather service worked to confirm the exact number of tornadoes. Gust said the storms that started in North Dakota and moved east into Minnesota spawned at least four tornadoes and possibly up to seven. They caused some damage on farms.

A video shot by a storm chaser showed a tornado touching down near a farm house in Wilkin County, Minn., and debris flying into the air as the funnel tore into the building.

The home destroyed in the video was near the tiny community of Campbell, Minn., according to a dispatcher with the Wilkin County sheriff. But the owner, Al Kosel, 76, and his family weren’t home, and there were no injuries, she said.

Dave Langenwalter told KVLY-TV in Fargo that he and his son had just gone into their basement when a tornado touched down just yards from their house near Tyler. His garage was gone, he said, and his car was picked up and dropped several yards away. Langenwalter found it behind a nearby grove of trees.