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Sept. 20 southern Minnesota tornado outbreak rises to 16

NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory / photo

Sept. 20 southern Minnesota tornado outbreak rises to 16

ST. PAUL — The National Weather Service now says 16 tornadoes strafed southern Minnesota on Thursday, Sept. 20, up from the four that were initially estimated.

The NWS said Friday, Sept. 28, that it had completed a more detailed analysis, which included high-resolution satellite and radar imagery as well as drone and aerial footage.

The NWS office in Chanhassen said the storm damage was difficult to assess because of the many potential tornado tracks amid widespread wind damage.

Overall, there were six tornadoes rated at EF0 (with wind speeds of 65-85 mph); nine rated at EF1 (86-110 mph); and one rated at EF2 (111-135 mph).

The storm system raced across southern Minnesota and into western Wisconsin that evening.

The tornadoes and strong winds damaged structures, cut power, uprooted trees, closed schools and destroyed hangars and aircraft at the municipal airport in Faribault, Minn.

However, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. NWS storm survey teams reported that many survivors said they sought shelter immediately after receiving tornado warnings on their mobile devices. Some of the survivors saw their homes or other property significantly damaged or destroyed.

The NWS, which is continuing to study the tornado outbreak, said it believes the electronic notification was a significant factor in reducing injuries.

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