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1 dead after tornado hits western Minnesota

DALTON, Minn. (AP) — Severe storms that swept through parts of the Midwest produced at least one powerful tornado that damaged farms and killed one person and injured two others in western Minnesota, authorities said.

A 30-year-old man was killed near Dalton when a twister destroyed a large garage in which he was working Wednesday evening, said Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Van Dyke.

Two others were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Van Dyke said. He did not know where or how the two were injured.

Three farmsteads were hit, and one of those farmhouses was flattened, said meteorologist Vince Godon with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Weather service ground crews were working to confirm reports of additional tornadoes, meteorologist Daniel Robinson said Thursday.

“Having eyes on the ground, the survey teams can look for indicators of other possible touchdowns,” Robinson said.

Kathy Long VanVoorhis, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, said she was awakened by the storm early Thursday.

“We heard this crack outside our bedroom window and immediately got up, and we ran out and saw the tree had fallen,” she said.

After that the tornado sirens started blaring, she said.

“We went outside and assessed our damage and decided there wasn’t much we could do, and went to the basement. We are safe and it didn’t hit our house, but hit our two cars.”

The tornado that caused the fatality is believed to be at least in the EF3 category, with winds of 136-165 mph (219-266 kph), the weather service said. It left a 6- to 9-mile (10- to 14-kilometer) trail of damage as it roared northeast.

Otter Tail County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shannon Terry said earlier her department was told that two tornadoes touched down near Dalton between 5:10 and 5:30 p.m.

A tornado crossed Interstate 94 but no vehicles were affected, according to the weather service. Other possible tornado activity was reported Wednesday in Colorado as well as parts of Nebraska and Illinois.

Residents in much of Nebraska were cleaning up and waiting for power to be restored Thursday following high winds, hail and heavy rain. Weak tornadoes were reported in unpopulated areas near Venango and Grant in southwestern Nebraska and Thedford in northwestern Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service in North Platte. Only minor tree damage was reported from those, meteorologist Shawn Jacobs said.

In Sedgwick County, Colorado, near the Nebraska state line, KDVR reported that video from a trained weather spotter captured a tornado that caused property damage. No injuries were reported.

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