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Updated: Five injured in three-vehicle crash in Willmar

Strong storms bring wind, rain

The sky darkens Thursday morning above the Jennie-O Turkey Store building in Willmar. Submitted photo by Carli Angrimson

WILLMAR — A line of strong thunderstorms moved through central Minnesota Thursday morning, bringing heavy downpours, lightning, wind and even some hail.

One of the strongest wind gusts, 77 miles per hour, was clocked by the National Weather Service near Renville. Weather Service observers reported power lines and branches down in the towns of Renville and Sacred Heart.

Locations in Yellow Medicine and Chippewa counties experienced some wind gusts of 57 and 58 mph.

The storms rolled through the area between 8 and 9 a.m., at the height of the morning commute. Under blackened skies, streetlights came on and motorists had to turn on their headlights.

The region’s most severe thunderstorms were concentrated along Minnesota Highways 7 and 212, including the towns of Renville, Sacred Heart, Olivia and east to Hutchinson and Silver Lake. While around one inch of rain was recorded at the Willmar Municipal Airport, the Olivia airport reported upwards of an inch, most of it falling in the space of just one hour.

The storms were triggered by a cold front moving out of the Dakotas into Minnesota.

The front moved out of the state by the end of the day, bringing cooler temperatures for the final two days of the week.

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