Skip to main content

Rated EF-4, tornado in west-central Minnesota had 170 mph winds

It's the strongest tornado in Minnesota since 2010.

The powerful tornado that wiped out multiple structures and killed a 30-year-old man in Minnesota on Wednesday has been rated an EF-4. 

The EF-4 rating was confirmed after a damage survey was completed by the National Weather Service, with estimated wind speeds reaching a violent 170 mph as the twister hammered parts of Grant and Otter Tail counties. 

It's the first EF-4 tornado in Minnesota since Aug. 7, 2010, when Wilkin County was hit by a twister that carved a path as wide as two football fields. 

The July 8 tornado was on the ground for 31 minutes, traveling nine miles and reaching a width of 650 yards. It touched town 6.5 miles west of Ashby and lifted 5 miles east of Dalton, the weather service said. 

An EF-4 is the second-strongest rating a tornado can have on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. 

  • EF-0: 65-85 mph - light damage
  • EF-1: 86-110 mph - moderate damage
  • EF-2: 111-135 mph - considerable damage
  • EF-3: 136-165 mph - severe damage
  • EF-4: 166-200 mph - devastating damage
  • EF-5: 200+ mph - incredible damage

The tornado strengthened along its path, starting as a weak tornado before quickly intensifying into a strong and violent tornado in southern Otter Tail County. It grew into an EF-2 as it moved through St. Olaf Township and across Beebe Lake, then "likely reached maximum EF-4 intensity after it crossed Hwy. 82 and destroyed a machine shop and yard on the downwind of it," the NWS damage survey said. 

Dalton tornado damage

Just after striking the machine shop and killing a 30-year-old man, the tornado reached its peak width and wind speed. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.


Dalton tornado damage

Extreme damage from deadly tornado in west-central Minnesota

One person was killed during the Wednesday tornado.

Dalton tornado

Man killed by Otter Tail County tornado identified

The 30-year-old was in a machine shed when the storm hit.


Killer tornado in Iowa rated EF-4 with 170 mph winds

It had a maximum width of 800 yards, which made it nearly a half-mile-wide tornado.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 9.13.40 AM

Deadly MN tornado featured on cover of upcoming movie '13 Minutes'

We talked to the Minnesota storm chaser who witnessed the storm.


2 MN counties have had 5 tornadoes in a single day this summer

Grant County joined the club last Friday, August 14.

Wisconsin tornado damage

Drone video of EF-3 tornado's damage path in Wheaton

The twister had winds in excess of 150 mph.

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 9.44.46 PM

One confirmed death following tornado in west-central Minnesota

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office says two people were taken to the hospital.