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Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal

Severe storms cause major damage in southern Minnesota community

Apr 13, 2022 10:40AM ● By Editor
Severe storms removed walls and the roof of a residence Tuesday in Taopi, Minnesota. Residents of the small southern Minnesota town surveyed the damage on Wednesday. Photo: Catharine Richert | MPR News

By Tim Nelson from Minnesota Public Radio News • April 13, 2022

Severe storms — including a possible tornado touchdown — caused significant damage late Tuesday in the southern Minnesota community of Taopi.

Authorities reported two people were injured when storms hit the community of several dozen people in Mower County, just a few miles north of the Iowa border. Authorities closed off public access to the area as they worked to clear downed power lines.

Jeremy Kiefer, whose family farms cattle near Taopi, said the storm approached suddenly as he and his family were already in bed.

"It got real windy, and then all of the sudden it got real quiet, and then within a couple of seconds, stuff started hitting our house, and then part of our roof was gone," he told MPR News on Wednesday morning.

Kiefer and his family were unharmed, but he said metal roofing and siding was scattered all over the area and dozens of his family's cattle were missing, some of them wandering through the area as the sun came up.

"We have cattle running around town, out by the highway," he said. "We don't know how many we're missing yet, but we're going to try to locate them all this morning, so no one gets hurt, and they don't either."

Photos and video posted to social media showed damaged buildings and overturned vehicles in the town, located along State Highway 56 about 30 miles south-southwest of Rochester.

Mower County Emergency Manager Amy Lammey said a number of houses lost roofs and that one house was blown off its foundation in Taopi. 

Lammey said two people had to be helped out of their damaged homes and were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were believed to be minor.

The National Weather Service in La Crosse, which covers Mower County, said survey crews would head out to determine if the damage was from a tornado or from straight-line winds.

Tornadoes were also reported Tuesday as storms moved across northern Iowa.

Elsewhere in southern Minnesota, Tuesday night's storms also caused wind damage in the Spring Valley and Winona areas and dropped golf-ball-size hail near Mankato.

To see a photo gallery of more storm damage and read related reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.

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