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Olivia city personnel use large equipment to move trees off the streets Friday evening so that citizens could move about in their efforts to clean up the downed trees in town after storms pushed through the region. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

Storm pushes high winds, rain across western Minn.

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/1130/070111-olivia-storm-21.jpg?itok=FMjNnO4n
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Storm pushes high winds, rain across western Minn.
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A powerful series of thunderstorms, packing high winds, hail and heavy rains Friday afternoon, left a trail of destruction across southern and west central Minnesota.

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The National Weather Service reported wind speeds of up to 78 mph in Redwood Falls, with trees and power lines down and roof damage reported in the downtown area. Reports from across Renville County included damage to buildings, trees and power lines.

"It's tough around here," said Olivia Mayor Sue Hilgert. "We have lots of trees down."

The mayor reported many large trees down across her town, with city personnel using plows to move the trees off the streets so that citizens could move about in their efforts to clean up the downed trees.

The power was out in Olivia, Danube, Bird Island and Sacred Heart, Hilgert said. But, there had not been any injuries, she said, when interviewed by the Tribune around 8 p.m. Friday.

Hilgert estimated that she had driven about half of the town's streets, and observed about 20 structures, houses, garages and sheds, with trees down upon them.

"Almost everybody in town has tree damage," she said.

In Sacred Heart, three buildings were damaged by the high winds. The Warner Manufacturing building, the city's shop building and Phil Smith's Pioneer seed warehouse had roof and wall damage.

Damage in that community also included downed trees and damage to roofing shingles. No injuries were reported.

Downed trees, power outages and hail were reported in the southern part of Kandiyohi County, but no damage to buildings was reported, according to Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Wyffels.

According to the Weather Service, trees were also down on homes and buildings in Lucan. Near Danube, damage was reported to barns, grain bins, homes and trees. Power line damage was reported at the Kandiyohi-Renville county line south of Lake Lillian.

Hail measuring 2.75 inches was reported two miles south of Dassel, while south of Cosmos, tree damage and damage to homes was reported.

According to the Weather Service, the storm cut a 20-mile swath from Flandreau in eastern South Dakota to Marshall in Minnesota.

Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith said roofs were torn off in Marshall, Russell and Balaton, and a "significant amount of trees" are down in Marshall. But no injuries were reported.

Tyler Police Chief John Spindler believes a tornado hit his city just after 4 p.m. Friday. Spindler said the power was out but apparently no one was hurt.

Trees and power lines also were down in Redwood Falls. KLGR-AM was knocked off the air Friday.

In central Minnesota, McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews said the roof was torn off a Hutchinson animal medical center, and two semis were blown off highways.

Tribune reporter Tom Cherveny and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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