Weather Forecast


Gov. Pawlenty surveys damage in Wadena, Minn.; more than 200 homes damaged in tornado

Gov. Tim Pawlenty toured Wadena Friday afternoon, taking a helecoptor tour of the tornado damaged area. He then spoke at a press conference at City Hall. Brian Basham/Forum Communications Co.

WADENA, Minn. - Gov. Tim Pawlenty made his way here to survey tornado damage early this afternoon, and the City Council is expected to pass an emergency declaration at the conclusion of their visit with the governor.

In addition, clean-up continues and emergency workers continue to work on stopping gas leaks that continue to develop, officials said.

Here is a collection of other developments in Wadena, where more than 200 homes were damaged and more than 30 people were injured.

In other news:

* A 3 p.m. public meeting will be held at St. Ann's Parish Center to discuss issues related to the clean-up effort.

* Thirty-four people have received medical care from Tri-County Hospital in Wadena. Two were admitted and one of them has already been discharged.

* Everyone who was displaced and had to spend the night at the Armory last night has found a place to stay.

* Police Chief Bruce Uselman described southwest Wadena as "a war zone."

* Debris on the roads is causing trouble for emergency vehicles: A number of vehicles have suffered flat tires because of nails and other foreign objects on the roads.

* Tri-County Hospital is practicing water conservation, and city officials said it's not a bad idea for residents. However, officials say the water is safe for drinking.

* The storm opened an anhydrous ammonia leak at Leaf River Ag Thursday night. The leak has been slowed but not stopped. It's still leaking a little, said Fire Chief Dean Uselman.

* Officials say many gas leaks have been stopped, but little ones keep popping up. So far, fire crews are keeping up with them.

* The estimate on the number of homes damaged or destroyed has grown. It is now 232.

* The city's emergency management committee will meet tonight at 9 p.m. at City Hall.

* Officials say the first warning siren rang out at 4:24 p.m. Thursday. At 5 p.m. a sheriff's deputy spotted a tornado southwest of the city. The estimate of touchdown in the city is 5:10 p.m.

* Clearing and cleaning up the streets is the priority.

"It's like a nuclear blast," said Bruce Uselman, the police chief. "There's stuff all over the place."

The Wadena (Minn.) Pioneer Journal is owned by Forum Communications Co.