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8:30 p.m. Update: Likely tornado devastates Wadena, Storm interrupts parade, all-school reunion celebration

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8:30 p.m. Update: Likely tornado devastates Wadena, Storm interrupts parade, all-school reunion celebration
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WADENA, Minn. - It was supposed to be a celebratory day here.

Instead, what's being described as a likely tornado that tore large sections of the city apart.

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The storm disrupted the city's parade and roared through town late this afternoon as hundreds of visitors arrived for an all-school reunion.

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden said the storm ripped through about 5:10 p.m. today, damaging or destroying several buildings, including Wadena-Deer Creek High School and the Wadena Area Community Center.

Wolden said while there have been no reports of fatalities, there have been reports of 12 to 13 injured.

Ten area fire departments and about 100 law enforcement officers have arrived to help, but Wolden said volunteers should stay away for now.

Wadena County Sheriff Mike Carr said the damage is severe and downed power lines present a safety issue. He said it's not safe to enter the city.

The Red Cross is setting up a command post at the Wadena Armory to help people displaced by the storm.

Wolden said there are many gas and water main leaks that crews are trying to repair, and Verizon cell phone service is down in the city.

Wolden said the storm hasn't been officially classified as a tornado, he's certain it was.

Steve Schulz is a reporter at the Wadena (Minn.) Pioneer Journal, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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