Winds of up to 80 mph blow across southwest Minnesota
LAKEFIELD, Minn. — Wind speeds of 50 to 80 mph across southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa early Tuesday morning, May 16, left area residents picking up the pieces from heavily damaged farm buildings, and clearing away downed trees and other debris.
At the Arland and Melinda Lubben farm near Brewster, the winds caused a large cattle shed to collapse, killing one 700-pound feeder steer.
Melinda Lubben said she and her husband were up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to pull in the flower pots she had sitting outside. A short while later, she heard a cow bellar and knew it sounded too close to the house.
When they stepped outside, they discovered the cattle were out and the cattle shed collapsed.
"It pulled the poles from the front part of the building and sat it down," Lubben explained of the wind, noting the electric fence was pulled out and the cattle shed roof rested on the automatic waterers. The 700-pound feeder steer they lost was inside the building.
"We feel that we're very fortunate with that," she said. "We have over 100 head of cattle. It could have been a lot worse."
Friends and neighbors helped the Lubbenses round up the cattle.
Eight miles southwest of Lakefield, Cindy and Larry Koep discovered the roof ripped off of a machine shed on their farm Tuesday morning.
Koep said she heard the wind pick up about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, and woke to find some downed trees on the lawn. She didn't realize the roof was missing from the machine shed until after she saw some steel out in the farm field.
They were able to get the combine out of the shed without too much damage, she said.
Brian Kutzbach of rural Round Lake was busy shingling the roof of his house late Tuesday afternoon before the next round of storms arrived. Kutzbach said he had shingles pulled from the roof by the high winds, while downed branches littered his farmyard. A pair of power poles in the neighborhood were snapped by the storm, but crews had power restored by 8:30 a.m.
The National Weather Service at Sioux Falls, S.D., reported wind speeds of 60 to 80 mph across portions of southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa between 4 and 5 a.m. Tuesday, blowing up from northeast Nebraska.
Jeff Chapman, a weather service meteorologist at Sioux Falls, said the strong winds were accompanied by a heat burst, in which temperatures rise and dew points fall as a thunderstorm rolls through.
In the Worthington area, many residents found dust and dirt stuck to siding on their homes and vehicles, something Chapman attributed to the loose dirt from recently worked-up farm fields.
"You had such strong winds and it's been fairly dry lately, so we have lots of loose dirt around," he said. "There was just enough rain to wet things up and then all that wind, at 50 to 80 miles per hour, really plastered it on cars and houses and the like."
The highest wind gusts in the region, as reported by the NWS, was 83 mph 3 miles southeast of Lake Park, Iowa, with a clocked speed of 68 mph 2 miles northeast of Sibley. The Worthington Airport clocked gusts at 67 mph, while 57 mph gusts were recorded a mile northeast of Rushmore, 55 mph at the Jackson Airport and 52 mph at the Windom airport.
Chapman said area residents will see more more storms roll through this week. A round of rain and possible severe weather was possible Tuesday evening and into the overnight.