Deadly EF4 tornado caught in breathtaking video
Storm chaser Melanie Metz recorded this as a tornado, which killed one person, tore through an area near Dalton, Minnesota, on July 8.
A powerful tornado struck western Minnesota on Wednesday night, killing one while damaging farmlands and injuring several others. According to data kept by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the death was the first tornado fatality since 2011 and the 100th ever recorded in the state since statistics began in 1950.
On Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) announced that its survey team had rated the storm as an EF4 tornado, meaning maximum wind speeds reached as high as 170 mph.
Among the destroyed buildings was a shop for trucks and machinery. Working in the shop was the 30-year-old victim, Seth Nelson, who spotted the tornado coming but was unable to get to safety. According to Fox 9, his body was found 30 feet from the building.
The NWS confirmed that the twister struck at 5:30 p.m. near Dalton, located about 160 miles northwest of Minneapolis. The NWS Twin Cities office had issued multiple severe thunderstorm warnings across the area on Wednesday.
At least two people were hospitalized, but their respective conditions were unknown, according to Otter Tail County officials.
Numerous homes and farmsteads were destroyed in Otter Tail County. In Ashby, a neighboring town to Dalton, Mayor Tom Grover said at least three homes were “pretty much gone” between his town and Dalton, according to the Star Tribune.
“I saw it come down, and right away you could see the debris rising up,” he said.
Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Shannon Terry said the NWS confirmed two separate tornadoes had touched down near Dalton, one of which left a trail of damage between 6 and 9 miles long. Additional storm survey work will be conducted to determine the tornado's final rating, although one meteorologist on the scene Wednesday suggested the damage could be the result of an EF3 twister.
Eyewitness reports and the damage track showed that the more damaging tornado crossed over Interstate 94 without damaging any vehicles. Near the town of Ottertail, there were multiple reports of downed trees, according to KARE 11.
More severe weather is forecast across the northern Plains on Friday, but AccuWeather meteorologists say the threat will be to the west of Minnesota.
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