Unusual December Severe Thunderstorms Bring Damage and Confirmed Tornadoes to the Area

An unusual mid-December line of severe thunderstorms packing tornadoes and wind gusts up to 80 mph moved through Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa on Wednesday Evening. 

Tornadoes were confirmed northwest of Albert Lea in Hartland, Plainview, Eyota and Wabasha and in Algona, Iowa.

Due to cloud rotation, severe weather spotters hit the road in Faribault County and a tornado warning was issued around 7pm for an area that includes the southeast corner of the county.  High winds also prompted severe thunderstorm warnings in Faribault, Blue Earth, Waseca and Le Sueur Counties.

In Faribault County, reports were received of tree debris on a road near Bricelyn and a few downed powerlines. 

In Freeborn County, Sheriff Kurt Freitag says the cities of Hartland, Glenville, Conger, Alden and Hayward were the hardest hit by Wednesday night’s storms.

Freitag said it appears that Hartland received the most structural damage, including several downed power lines.  He noted that the rural areas surrounding the affected communities also received damage to houses and other structures such as barns and machine sheds.

There have been no reports of injuries received, according to a news release. 

The Sheriff is asking the public to stay clear of Hartland, unless they are residents or are there to assist with cleanup.

As of 7:10pm on Wednesday evening, Iowa Lakes Cooperative reported 404 member owners without power, including 77 in Emmet County.

In Emmet County, Highway 9 was closed for several miles east of N52/490th Ave, due to downed powerlines.

In Dickenson County, power poles were down on 260th St. near 250th Ave.  Also, several street lights were knocked down along Highway 9 in Sprit Lake.  East of Milford, a roof was reportedly blown completely off a home and garage.

In Clay County, there was a report of a 30 foot evergreen completely uprooted a mile south of Spencer.

In Kossuth County, a 14 inch diameter tree reportedly fell on a house in Algona.

And in Palo Alto County, a hog barn was destroyed east of Ruthven.