Tornadoes Hit Minnesota, Three Reported Dead

A series of tornadoes ripped across Minnesota on Thursday, killing at least three people and injuring dozens. Tornadoes were reported in about 20 locations, according to this map from Minnesota Public Radio.  

Reports of damage stretched from Wadena, in the central part of the state, to Albert Lea, a town near Minnesota's southern border with Iowa. CBS reported in the video below that about a quarter of the buildings in Wadena, a town of about 4,300, were wiped out. A high school was destroyed and crews worked to stop natural gas leaks.  “All you could hear was crash, crash, crash,” one woman told the network.

Video taken during the storm showed a black twister—reported to be, at times, a half-mile wide—tossing debris as it ground through a farm. Residents in Almora were mourning the loss of one resident, according to a report in The Daily Journal. Brittney Schulke told the paper that her grandmother had been killed and the home where the elderly woman lived was destroyed by the storm. A man was killed when a tornado tore through a gas station in the town of Mentor. CBS reported that the man had pushed his customers into a cooler for safety just seconds before the tornado hit. A third victim was killed at a farm west of Albert Lea.  

Gov. Tim Pawlenty was expected to tour the damage at Wadena on Friday. Police and the National Guard were blocking entrance to the hard-hit parts of town as preparations began to clean up the damage.