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Small tornado takes direct hit on Windom in southern Minnesota

The tornado hit just after 6 p.m. Saturday.
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Cleanup is underway in Windom after a direct hit from a tornado Saturday evening. 

The southern Minnesota town of 4,431 residents was struck by what Cottonwood County Emergency Management (CCEM) believes to be a small tornado, yet still powerful enough to produce plenty of damage in town. 

"What was believed to be a weak tornado hit Windom this evening," CCEM said in a Facebook post.

"The track of the damage was roughly only 100 feet or so wide and started just behind a home on the corner of river road and 13th street. The track continued through the fairgrounds, Winfair Elementary, and along 15th street. It then jumped the highway and went up 16th street toward Cottonwood Lake."

In a Facebook page for Windom community members, multiple commenters wrote that the tornado was gone before the sirens ever sounded. 

"Watched the debris cloud form right over 4th Ave/16th Street area. My neighbors tree got stripped of some branches. Was gone before the sirens sounded," one comment says. 

The page includes videos and photos of what appears to be a tornado in the distance. There are also multiple videos of a waterspout over Cottonwood Lake. 

The National Weather Service  (NWS) did not forecast much of a threat for severe weather Saturday, although the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) did eventually – around 4 p.m. – discuss the possibility of a tornado or two as the environment became more favorable, but it elected against issuing a tornado watch. 

A view of the radar when the tornado hit around 6:15 p.m. Saturday. 

A view of the radar when the tornado hit around 6:15 p.m. Saturday. 

Another storm produced multiple tornado warnings in the Fairmont area, where multiple funnel clouds were reported. 

The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities says there is potential for a couple of severe storms again Monday in southern Minnesota, but confidence in the forecast is currently low, especially after computer models did a poor job projecting what ultimately happened Saturday. 

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