NWS confirms Hartland tornado

Published 8:42 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

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The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado caused the damage in Hartland, according to Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag.

The tornado started 900 yards in the southwest corner of Freeborn County, traveled to the northeast, east of Alden and then continued to Hartland. The weather agency estimated the tornado to be an EF1 or EF2.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Freeborn County at 6:41 p.m. Wednesday. Severe weather with winds gusting to 70 mph entered the county minutes later.

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The sheriff stated dispatchers received the first report of damaged property at 7:20 p.m., to which deputies and area fire departments responded.

Businesses in the downtown of Hartland received substantial damage, along with nearby houses. Several downed branches and trees were reported throughout the city.

The Sheriff’s Office stated power is not yet restored to the city of Hartland and Xcel Energy will work through the night to restore power hopefully on Friday. Cleanup is progressing, and the Freeborn County Highway Department will assist Friday with large debris removal from the roads in town.

Freeborn-Mower Electric Cooperative has worked to replace about 40 broken power poles on the east side of Freeborn County, and Dairyland Power Cooperative is replacing 13 broken power poles in the west side of Freeborn County. An additional nine other broken poles are in Faribault County.

The sheriff asked that only those who live in Hartland, or who are working to help clean up, come to the city so clean-up efforts aren’t hampered. The area is still not a completely safe environment to walk or drive through.