Emergency personnel praised for response to EF-1 twister
WILLMAR -- Lessons learned in the 2008 twister that hit Willmar helped county emergency management personnel handle the tornado that skipped in and over Spicer last week.
"I hate to say this, but we have some experience with the tornado last year," Don Ericson, Kandiyohi County Emergency Management Director told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
Ericson gave the commissioners an update on the storm at their meeting.
The tornado was classified as an EF-1 tornado with winds of 100 to 109 mph, he said.
It was about 250 feet wide and traveled about 6½ miles east and northeast of Spicer and along the shores of Green Lake.
The tornado was "not on the ground the whole way," he said.
Because it "hopped" through town it caused "sporadic damage," he said.
Damage to structures was estimated at $430,000. "It's a rough estimate," said Ericson, and doesn't count damage to personal property -- like boats -- or damage to trees.
After being informed the county was under a severe weather watch, spotters were on the scene at 3:15 p.m. July 14. At 4:42 p.m. the tornado was first spotted. It moved quickly.
Ericson said people told him they heard the sirens in Spicer and "saw a clear blue sky" and the next instant they "saw things flying."
The county coordinated efforts with Spicer emergency crews and the response phase was completed by 9 p.m. that night.
County Board Chairman Dennis Peterson praised Ericson and all emergency units for their response.
"I got more comments on the fast service," said Peterson. "Within minutes you guys were out there," he said. "The message was to thank you all."
Ericson was pleased there were no injuries. "We came out lucky again."