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From a "particularly dangerous situation" severe thunderstorm watch in southwestern Minnesota to multiple tornado watches further north and east, intense storms left a path of damage across the state on Thursday. 

Already battered by hail the size of baseballs and 60-80 mph winds in separate severe weather events Monday and Wednesday, Thursday's widespread severe weather may have been the worst

The line of storms that ripped through northeast Nebraska, Sioux Falls in southeast South Dakota and then across Minnesota, prompted a "particularly dangerous situation" severe thunderstorm watch. It was given the rare designation due to potential 100+ mph winds. 

The wicked line of storms picked up massive amounts of dust and carried it like a southwestern U.S. haboob, typically reserved for places like New Mexico and Arizona. Brad Hakeman snapped this photo while leaving work in Sioux Falls. 

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The intense line of storms carried with it a wall of dust through Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

The ominous line of storms continued into southwestern Minnesota, bringing with it the wall of dust under a shelf cloud packing intense straight-line winds. 


The ominous view of the storm entering Marshall in Lyon County, Minnesota. 

In Madison, located near the South Dakota border in Lac Qui Parle County, a weather station recorded a 94 mph wind gust. Other storm reports show a 94 mph gust near Verndale, 87 mph near Forada, 81 mph in Taunton, 80 mph in Florence, 79 mph in Graceville, 78 mph in Marshall, 75 mph in Canby, 73 in Fergus Falls, 72 in Alexandria and 71 mph in Willmar. 

The storm rocked Stevens and Douglas counties in west-central Minnesota. 

"We are asking that everyone stay home. There is widespread damage and downed power lines," the sheriff's office said. "First responders do not need onlookers to interfere with this recovery."

Storm-chasers Nick and Amanda Elms, known as the Prairie Wind Chasers, reported 70-foot-tall grain silos swept off their concrete foundations in Stevens County. Photos from the scene show piles of rubble and uprooted trees. 

As the storms surged northeast, an arcing line of severe- and tornado-warned storms produced winds strong enough to tip semi-trailers on Interstate 94. It was bad enough in the Alexandria area that eastbound I-94 was blocked, causing the State Patrol to reroute traffic. 

There are also numerous downed power lines on Hwy. 9 east of Benson, forcing a closure of the highway between County Road 25 and County Road 31.  

"If you're traveling through an area impacted by tonight's storms, MnDOT advises traveling with caution," the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. 

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In Todd and Stearns counties in central Minnesota, there were numerous tornado warnings and possible tornado touchdowns. The Long Prairie Leader has heard reports of extensive damage in Clarissa, possible tornado touchdowns between Long Prairie and Sauk Centre, and other potential twisters around Osakis and between Clarissa and Staples. 

More damage reports are expected as time progresses, and daylight will surely shed more light on how much damage the violent storms produced. 

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