NWS confirms 4 tornadoes hit eastern Minnesota on Saturday

Two twisters struck around 1 a.m. Saturday, with the other two hitting later Saturday night.
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Stock image of storm damage. 

Severe weather Friday night and Saturday produced a slew of damaging wind reports, but also led to at least four confirmed tornadoes touching down in east-central Minnesota, near the Twin Cities. 

The first twister to touch down was an EF-1 with peak winds of 90 mph in northwest Isanti County. According to the National Weather Service, it touched down 9 miles south-southeast of Ogilvie at 12:59 a.m. Saturday and lasted six minutes while carving a 3-mile path with a maximum width of about 100 yards. 

"This tornado was embedded within a line of severe thunderstorms producing straight line wind damage, but a concentrated area of damage exhibiting tornado characteristics tracked across northwest Isanti County," the NWS said. 

About 20 minutes later, a weaker tornado – rated an EF-0 with peak winds of an estimated 80 mph – hit five miles southeast of Braham on West Rush Lake and was on the ground for about 1.5 miles before lifting at 1:27 a.m. 

A damage survey conducted by the NWS found that boats and docks were damaged on the lake. 

The second round of severe storms that developed Saturday evening around the Twin Cities resulted in two more tornado touchdowns. The first was around 9:42 p.m. when an EF-0 with estimated peak winds of 65 mph was on the ground for 3.1 miles, beginning two miles southeast of Woodbury and lifting around 9:51 a.m. three miles west of Afton. 

This tornado was confirmed by a debris signature on radar. 

The last and strongest of the weekend tornadoes happened between approximately 9:53 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. as an EF-1 tornado that got as wide as 400 yards moved through southern Washington County and crossed into Pierce County, Wisconsin. 

A damage survey found that it was on the ground for about 9.5 miles, beginning five miles north of Hastings and lifting two miles southwest of River Falls. The EF-1 tornado had maximum winds of about 100 mph and produced extensive tree damage, with many trees snapped in half. 

"The heaviest damage occurred on top of a bluff as the tornado crossed the St. Croix River into Wisconsin," the NWS said, noting that "a few farm outbuildings were also damaged." 

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