Severe weather hits towns in Minnesota; 1 man killed, dozen homes damaged - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Severe weather hits towns in Minnesota; 1 man killed, dozen homes damaged

NICOLLET, Minn. (AP) _ Tornadoes and hail struck several towns in southern Minnesota, killing one man, damaging cars and ripping roofs off at least a dozen homes.

The man who died was trapped in a house near Kasota when a tornado hit Thursday, said Tom Doherty, chief sheriff's deputy in Le Sueur County.

The most serious property damage was reported in adjacent Nicollet County, where a tornado bounced through Nicollet, a town of 800, then moved east toward St. Peter, tearing roofs from farm houses and downing trees and power lines.

Many of the houses along the highway that links the two towns, 12 miles apart, were without roofs, and the fronts or sides were ripped off others, exposing interior rooms. Powerline poles lay alongside the road and some treetops were sheared off.

Several people were treated at hospitals for broken bones and other injuries that were not life-threatening.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty planned to tour the storm-damaged area on Friday.

Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange said a couple of homes were left uninhabitable after the tornado ``bounced up and down'' through town.

Mary Rahm, 22, said she saw the tornado dip from the clouds, bounce back up, dip down and bounce up again. Then the third time it dipped it hit the ground. That's when she and her newborn headed for cover.

``I grabbed my son and went under the desk because I don't have a basement. My 5-week-old son just made it through his first tornado,'' Rahm said. ``This is wicked.''

The National Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes hit the region Thursday evening.

An earlier line of thunderstorms dropped hail as large as softballs in several communities.

In New Prague, police chief Mark Vosejpka said hail smashed the windshield of a fire truck and dented many vehicles.

Eleven squad cars from the Northfield Police Department were damaged, and police were borrowing squad cars from the Rice County Sheriff's Office.

In Arizona, heavy rain caused flooding in the Phoenix area, turning normally dry riverbeds into raging rivers and trapping motorists.

Firefighters waded into the Indian Bend Wash to help two people out of two cars and walk them out of the swift knee-deep water.

Phoenix firefighters rescued a woman who drove through a flooded intersection and became trapped. Emergency personnel in other jurisdictions also reported calls to pull people from stranded vehicles.
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