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Some damage reported in Swift Falls tornado touchdown

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SWIFT FALLS -- Early reports from residents near Swift Falls indicate that a home, turkey barn and electrical transmission substation were casualties of the severe storm that rolled through portions of Pope and Swift County late Tuesday afternoon.

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Electrical power was out in the tiny community. The Swift County Sheriff's office had barricaded access to town as efforts were made to assure the safety of residents amid a scene of downed trees and damaged homes.

Bueford Peterson, a longtime resident of the community reached by phone, said the storm had knocked down a large tree in his yard but spared his home. Peterson said that he could see lots of downed trees along the community's main drag. He was unable to get out and survey the damage due to the downed trees.

Peterson said the "winds came from every direction" at the height of the storm, which he described as being very intense but short-lived.

Peterson said contacts with his neighbors indicated that no one had been seriously hurt in the community.

Debris from a turkey barn was evident near the community.

Nearby at Gilchrist Lake, Richard Heimkes watched as large chunks of insulation fell down around his home with a heavy downpour of rain.

Heimkes said he was able to reach his son in Swift Falls by phone and learned that windows in his home had been shattered by the storm and that downed trees littered his yard. Heimkes attempted to reach the community and found access blocked. He said the area south of town appeared to have escaped any storm damage.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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