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Red Wing Area Hit Hard By Severe Storms

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Severe weather hit the Twin Cities metro and southeastern Minnesota Monday night, bringing heavy rain and potentially damaging winds to several communities.

One area hit hard was Vasa, which is just east of Cannon Falls in Goodhue County. The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Goodhue and Rice Counties that expired just after 6 p.m. Monday. Weather officials reported an 81 mile per hour wind gust near Red Wing as the storms passed through the area.

A crumpled grain bin sitting in a ditch used to be on John Peterson's farm, about 100 yards away. Just one example of how strong the winds were when they came through Goodhue County Monday afternoon.

"Just eating supper and it was raining and it was blowing. You could hear it hit the side of the house and then it was like somebody snapped their fingers and everything, all hell broke loose," John Peterson said.

In every direction on Peterson's property, mangled evidence of Monday's storm could be found. He and his family luckily made it safely to their home's basement.

"Lost that shed, lost one back here and the roof on the barn," Peterson said.

Gallery: August 27 Severe Weather

The grain bin had another one next to it. But that's now across the street, not far from the Vasa Lutheran Center that lost part of its steel roof.

Neighbors quickly came to help, clearing downed trees - and the metal roofing from Peterson's property that was scattered across fields more than 100 yards away.

The damage was vast, but the wind was selective in what it destroyed. Skipping over the mini barn housing Peterson's cows, but still wielding enough strength to snap trees and bend steel.

Peterson expects repairs will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But he's thankful for having insurance, and of course his life.

"Just got the driveway open and wait till tomorrow. Then start in cleaning again. Not much you can do about it. Can't fight mother nature," Peterson said.

Despite the significant damage across several properties, neighbors are simply thankful that nobody was reported to be hurt.

The Twin Cities metro didn't go unscathed. The National Weather Service issued a thunderstorm for the entire metro, including Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties that expired shortly after 6 p.m. That included the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, where entertainment at the free stages was halted to allow storms to pass through.

Rides and free stages at the Minnesota State Fair were evacuated as the storms rolled through. Fair spokeswoman Danielle Dullinger says people at the free stages were told to seek safety at one of five severe weather shelters on the fairgrounds.

State Fair officials said by about 6:30 p.m., rides were beginning to operate again and free stages would be back on schedule. The Grandstand show went on as scheduled.

Xcel Energy officials say more than 12,000 people are without power after Monday's storms.


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