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An apparent tornado ripped through a small community in southeastern Minnesota after dark Tuesday night, leaving the town of Taopi – a community of just over 50 people about 40 miles south of Rochester – completely devastated. 

A woman who lives in the area told Bring Me The News that "the little town is destroyed," with "many houses just gone." Farms, sheds, barns and grain bins were destroyed. 

Daniel Evans of the Mower County Independent posted numerous damage photos on Facebook that show complete destruction, including crumbled houses and buildings and multiple vehicles tossed and destroyed. 

The tornado warning was issued at 10:37 p.m., followed by 911 callers reporting damaged homes and trapped residents, according to the Mower County Sheriff's Office. 

"There was one report of two residents trapped in their basement and they were rescued and taken to Mayo Clinic for evaluation and treatment of non-life threatening injuries," the sheriff's release says. 

"The affected areas in Taopi were searched and evacuated as needed. Sheltering was supplied to three families and others sheltered with family and/or friends."

Here's what the velocity scan on the radar looked like at 10:49 p.m. as the possible tornado struck the area. Where the red meets green and blue is where winds are moving in opposite directions, which is essentially a radar-indicated tornado. 


Highway 56 going between Adams and Taopi was closed due to downed power lines and debris, but it is expected to reopen sometime Wednesday morning.

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"The highway in the Adams-Taopi area should be opening up soon," MnDOT announced at 7:40 a.m. "But be alert. Crews report storm damage, cattle loose in the area. Drive with caution. Watch for emergency responders still working in the area."

The National Weather Service has posted possible rotation tracks from storms that tore through southeastern Minnesota. Its images include red dots that represent a "likely tornadic debris signature."

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