A total of seven tornadoes roared across several southern Minnesota counties Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
Most were weak, categorized as EF-0, the lowest on the scale, with winds from 55-60 miles per hour and 75-80 mph. One, though, in northern Nicollet and Sibley counties, was an EF-1, with winds of 100-105 mph.
That tornado hit at least three farms, damaging outbuildings and one home, said Kim Flanaghan, emergency management director for Sibley County. One of the farms was a 350-head milking operation and a number of calves — including one born during the storm — were tossed into the trees.
No humans were injured, Flanaghan said, and the calves survived.
Another farm between Gaylord and Winthrop had a barn blown over and lots of tree damage, Flanaghan said. There also was crop damage in the county, she said.
"It's been really enlightening, the support from neighbors and residents, people coming to help," Flanaghan said.
In Scott County, Capt. Scott Haas of the Sheriff's Office said radar picked up a rotation in the center of the county near County Roads 42 and 17 and indicated debris in the air.
But squads from Shakopee, Prior Lake and the Mdewakanton Sioux tribe were out scouting for damage Thursday and found nothing to indicate a tornado, he said.
Meteorologist Eric Ahasic said the strongest tornado originated at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday near New Sweden. It was 75 yards wide and was on the ground for 3.1 miles for about eight minutes.
The Weather Service reported that the first tornado formed at 4:46 p.m. near Nicollet. It traveled 1.5 miles and had winds of 75 to 80 mph. The second also formed near Nicollet at 5:04 p.m. and lasted for a little more than a half-mile. The third was the strongest.
Two tornadoes formed near Winthrop, at 6:26 p.m. and 6:33 p.m. Each was on the ground less than a quarter-mile. Another near New Prague formed at 7:05 p.m., and the last formed near Lester Prairie at 8:08 p.m.
It was the biggest outbreak of tornadoes in Minnesota this year, but it was an odd storm system, Ahasic said. There was no hail and little lightning. Where there was lightning, a tornado quickly formed. Winds were changing direction and were moving one direction at the ground and another higher in the atmosphere, he said.
The storm did dump impressive amounts of rain. The airport at Redwood Falls recorded 9.45 inches, but that is being checked for errors. Another rain gauge had 8.12 inches.
Morton and Maynard had 6 inches; Granite Falls, 5.26; Montevideo, 4.66, and New Ulm had 3.33. Closer to the Twin Cities, there was 2.82 in Coon Rapids, 2.79 in Eden Prairie and just 1.52 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
A few showers may pass through the metro area on Friday, the Weather Service said, but it's likely to be clear Saturday and most of Sunday. Cloud cover may make eclipse viewing chancy on Monday, it said.