Tornado Damages Central Minnesota Homes

July 12, 2016 06:23 AM

Strong storms moving through the state caused significant damage Monday.

The National Weather Service reported a tornado touched down near northwest Litchfield at approximately 5:30 p.m. Those in the area were urged to take cover.


WATCH: Raw Video of the Tornado in Litchfield

Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze says the storm damaged anywhere from 15-20 mobile homes, and he says two other homes will be a total loss.  Four neighborhoods were affected, including the Park Village Mobile Home area where Rae Ann Brutger lives.

The American Red Cross said it is helping 50 people

Brutger was at work when the sky turned dark and dangerous. When sirens blared, she hurried to her place on West 11th and what she hoped was still her home.

"I want to see if my house was here and this is what I come to," she cried.  

The inside of her trailer home was scattered outside.  

It was a similar scene of heartbreak at the Kelbing's nearby.

"It hasn't really hit me yet; I feel worse for my husband because his prized possessions are everywhere," Diane Kelbing said.  

The couple barely made it to the nearby shelter in time, joining 75 other residents who dodged the tornado.

"Sirens went out early warning folks, there's a reason there were no injuries in Litchfield," Cruze said.

Cruze says the tornado skipped over town, and then hit the town of Watkins, where it damaged homes and a nursing home. Litchfield and Watkins are approximately 16 miles apart. Litchfield has a population of 6,688; Watkins has a population of 945.

According to Chopper 5 video captured in the area, the damage in Litchfield mainly occurred west of U.S. Highway 12 and south of 270th Street. The tornado dropped in a residential area and traveled north, with a visible path of about 2.5 miles.

WATCH: Aerial Video of Tornado Damage in Litchfield

As a result, power was out Monday evening in northwest Litchfield and Watkins.

Authorities received one report of minor injuries in Watkins.

WATCH: Aerial Video of Tornado Damage in Watkins

The National Weather Service says law enforcement also reported a tornado touchdown about 6:30 p.m. Monday three miles east of Rockville, in Stearns County.

Meanwhile, the NWS reported flooding from the Brainerd Lakes area to east-central Minnesota.

The National Weather Service in Duluth sent out this alert:

EMERGENCY SITUATION: Conditions are deteriorating rapidly. We are trying to get the word out from the Brainerd Lakes region, through east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

We are asking for your help in getting word out to campgrounds, resorts, anyone near rivers or streams, etc. In short, if you are in and near the Brainerd Lakes area, Aitkin County, Pine County, and much of northwestern Wisconsin, we are expecting potentially catastrophic flooding. The Mississippi River at Aitkin is expected to see a huge surge in water overnight, and is expected to reach 17.9 feet by daybreak. At 18 feet, water will inundate the Aitkin sewage plant.

 Much more rain is on the way, and we have seen 6 to 8 inches of rain in spots in these areas. This is potentially a many decade flood.

The NWS issued a tornado warning that includes Elk River, Big Lake and Zimmerman until shortly after 9 p.m.

KSTP's Dave Dahl says heat and humidity had been building throughout the day across the entire state, contributing to heavy rainfall and severe weather.

Tuesday is expected to be warm, with temperatures in the upper 80s, but the humidity will drop after the storms.

Check the latest weather conditions here.

Download the KSTP Weather App here.

See the interactive radar here.


Copyright 2016 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company