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local Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Couple unhurt as tornado passes over farm, damages crops, trees, structures

WILLMAR -- Ivan and Della Underland were in the basement about to hide under their pool table when they realized Friday night's tornado had already passed them by.

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"We watched the funnel cloud go to the east of us," Della said. "We were pretty shook up for a while, but I guess we are OK."

Neither was hurt, but the place their son, Steve, owns where they live along the 5200 block of 22nd Street Southwest just southwest of Willmar was damaged. An empty grain bin was blown down, many trees were down or uprooted and there is serious damage to the surrounding crop fields.

The house and garage had window and door damage, she said. "The house looks like mud."

The power was out and lines were across the road, Della said. Kandiyohi Cooperative Electric crews were working to repair the damaged lines.

-- Gretchen Schlosser

Home spared, but grove, outbuilding destroyed

WILLMAR -- The tornado came from the southwest, skipping over fields flush with new crops shortly after 6 p.m. Among the first places that suffered damage were two rural homes about three miles south of downtown Willmar.

Tom and Linda Mikelson and their 11-year-old daughter Christine saw the funnel coming and went downstairs and got under the stairwell.

"All we heard was a picture fall," said Tom.

Their home, at 1377 45th Ave. S.W., seemed spared of serious damage, though their outbuilding were destroyed, Tom said, and the grove of old trees was toppled and left in splinters.

The next door neighbor, just across the yard, suffered much worse. The house, said to belong to Bob and Michelle Sayette, sustained extensive roof and structural damage. Several outbuildings were torn apart.

Three goats in a pen were unhurt. A multi-colored parrot stood unmoving among the debris behind the newer frame house as if stunned by the calamity.

A farmstead an eighth of a mile to the south appeared undamaged.

The twister then plowed into the intersection of U.S. Highway 71 and 45th Avenue, tossing about machinery in the Arnold's Implement yard. Across the street, trees were broken and twisted. Several mobile homes on a sale site disintegrated in the violent wind.

Within minutes of the storms passing, gawkers filled the township roads and Highway 71 competing with emergency vehicles for the right-of-way.

-- Rand Middleton

Regular citizens capture tornado on video, in photos

WILLMAR -- Sergio Trevino, 14, was sitting outside watching the storm clouds build from his home along Kandiyohi County Road 5 a couple of miles south of Willmar, when he decided to run inside and grab his video camera.

"We saw the clouds forming above us," he said. The tornado came down, hit a field, then picked up speed and plowed into the next field. No structures were damaged.

Connie Wanner was doing a crossword puzzle, while waiting out the storm in a safe room in her apartment near the Skylark Center in Willmar. Her neighbor, Mary, came by and asked her to come out and see the tornado as it passed south of town. A freelance photographer, Wanner had an empty memory card and spent about five minutes shooting over the roofs of First Street businesses.

"It was exciting," she said, noting that the funnel cloud moved up and down several times while she was photographing it.

View Trevino's video and many other citizen submissions at the Tribune Online at www.wctrib.com.

-- Gretchen Schlosser

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