Tornado Tears Through Minnesota

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) -- A strong storm packing at least one tornado raked a half-mile-wide "path of destruction" in northwestern Minnesota, ripping up roofs and trees and pushing cars off the road Friday, the National Weather Service said.

Hubbard County emergency officials said there were no reports of any injuries in the storm, which caused widespread damage in Park Rapids and Emmaville.

Emmaville resident Drew Huntziger said every tree in his yard was uprooted and his mobile home was damaged. His neighbor lost a big metal shed.

The weather service also reported damage in the small town of Menahga and Pickerel Lake.

Forecasters warned Friday's weather could be packed with strong storms.

Runoff from heavy rain early Friday forced the evacuation of about a dozen homes in Cambridge, in central Iowa. The evacuations were along two streets in a low-lying area in the town. Residents fled at about 3 a.m. and no injuries were reported.

"The ground is just fully saturated. The runoff from the community just all comes to that part of town. This is probably the worst it's ever been," said Lori Morrissey, the emergency management coordinator for Story County.

Morrissey said more than 2 inches of rain fell in storms that began Thursday night in the region. Flooding remains the top concern.

Frank Boska, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Johnston, Iowa, said 3.7 inches of rain fell overnight at the Des Moines International Airport. Streets downtown were covered with water and several manhole covers popped off.

In Kansas, some homes and businesses were damaged and a couple of circus elephants were rattled by storms in WaKeeney. One of the animals entered a backyard less than a mile from fairgrounds in town and was blocked off by fire trucks until trainers could coax it onto a truck, Trego County Sheriff Richard Schneider said.

"I guess it got tired of walking around," he said.

The second elephant was tranquilized in another backyard, coaxed into a truck and returned to the circus, which was already packing up to head to the next town, Schneider said.

A twister in Clay County in north-central Kansas destroyed a home, damaged several other buildings and toppled trees and power lines, sheriff's dispatcher Cat Dallinga said. Storms also damaged roofs at the Pratt County airport in south-central Kansas and overturned tractor-trailers along Interstate 29, officials said.

Wind and hail caused extensive roof damage in Collyer, near WaKeeney, Schneider said.

In Virginia and Maryland, crews were working to restore power to homes and businesses that lost power in Wednesday's storm. The weather service confirmed tornadoes knocking down trees and tearing roofs off several homes and a restaurant.

Heat into the 90s that was predicted through the weekend in parts of the Midwest and East was already plaguing crews in southwestern Ohio as they worked to restore power after thunderstorms and tornadoes in a week of crazy weather.

Cincinnati declared a heat alert and opened cooling centers, with temperatures in the 90s forecast for the weekend as far east as New York City.

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