There were 16 tornadoes in Minnesota's outbreak on September 20

It's up from the original estimate of six twisters.
Publish date:

The number of tornadoes that tore through Minnesota and western Wisconsin during the Sep. 20 outbreak was first thought to be six, adjusted to "up to 10" and now an astounding 16. 

Sixteen tornadoes now confirmed by the National Weather Service, 15 of them touching down in southern and eastern Minnesota in about a 90-minute window. 

The strongest tornado hit Morristown and lifted near Faribault, producing winds up to 130 mph and destroying several homes in Morristown and caused significant damage at the airport in Faribault. 

The image below shows the southeast-to-northeast track the storms took. Triangles represent where tornado damage was found, circles represent wind damage and the polygons represent tornado tracks. 

Here's a recap of all 16 tornadoes, of which there were no reports of injuries. 

Granada, MN tornado

EF-1 with peak winds 95-105 mph. It was on the ground for 6.5 miles and was 220 yards wide. This tornado touched down at 5:52 p.m. one mile north of Granada and lifted at 5:59 p.m. about seven miles northeast of Blue Earth. 

Lake Elysian, MN tornado

EF-1 with peak winds 95-105 mph. It was on the ground for 6.8 miles with a width of 200 yards. It touched down at 6:19 p.m. three miles northeast of Janesville and lifted at 6:24 p.m. three miles east-southeast of Elysian. 

Janesville, MN (east) tornado

EF-0 with peak winds 65-75 mph with a width of 20 yards. It touched down five miles east of Janesville and was on the ground for less than a minute. 

Owatonna, MN tornado

EF-1 with winds 95-105 mph and was on the ground for a whopping 27 miles. This 200-yard-wide tornado touched down at 6:23 p.m. two miles north of Waldorf and lifted three miles east of Owatonna at 6:42 p.m. 

Waterville, MN tornado

EF-1 tornado with winds 90-100 mph. It was 500 yards wide and was on the ground for 7.7 miles, touching down two miles southwest of Waterville at 6:26 p.m. and lifting one mile southwest of Caron Lake at 6:32 p.m. 

Medford, MN tornado

EF-1 with peak winds 100-110 mph. It was 500 yards wide and stayed on the ground for 27.8 miles, touching down at 6:30 p.m. one mile east of Waseca and lifting two miles southeast of Nerstrand at 6:52 p.m. Several farmsteads were heavily damaged or destroyed. 

Morristown/Faribault, MN tornado

EF-2 tornado produced winds of 120-130 mph. It was the width of 10 football fields (1,000 yards) and stayed on the ground for 25.8 miles, beginning in Morristown at 6:32 p.m. and lifting at 6:54 p.m. two miles north of Dennison. Several homes in Morristown were leveled. 

Faribault, MN (west & north) tornado

EF-1 tornado with 90-100 mph winds. It was on the ground for 7.7 miles, stretching from Cedar Lake at 6:38 p.m. to four miles north of Faribault when it lifted at 6:44 p.m. 

Dundas, MN (south) tornado

EF-1 with 85-95 mph winds. It was 400 yards wide and was on the ground for 14.3 miles, beginning at 6:43 p.m. five miles north of Faribault and lifting at 6:57 p.m. about two miles north of Dennison. Yes, this tornado lifted near Dennison just three minutes after the EF-2 tornado did. 

Northfield, MN tornado

EF-1 with 100-110 mph winds. Had a track length of 8.9 miles and was 400 yards wide. It started two miles east of Northfield at 6:53 p.m. before lifting at 7:01 p.m. two miles south of Lake Byllesby. The worst damage was south of Hwy. 19. 

Wanamingo/Zumbrota, MN tornado

EF-0 with winds 70-80 mph and was on the ground for 19.4 miles. It began at 6:56 p.m. six miles southwest of Wanamingo and lifted two miles south of Bellechester at 7:15 p.m. Most of its damage was done in corn fields. 

Cannon Falls, MN (south) tornado

EF-1 with winds of 85-95 mph. It was 100 yards wide and was on the ground for 1.7 miles, touching down at 7:01 p.m. about three miles south of Cannon Falls and then lifting at 7:03 p.m. one mile south of Cannon Falls. 

Cannon Falls, MN (north) tornado

EF-0 with 70-80 mph winds. It was on the ground for 3.5 miles, beginning four miles northwest of Cannon Falls at 7:02 p.m. and ending two miles north of Cannon Falls at 7:05 p.m. 

Prairie Island, MN to Diamond Bluff, WI tornado

EF-0 with 65-75 mph winds. It began at 7:17 p.m. in Prairie Island and lasted for 3.9 miles, crossing the Mississippi River, before lifting one mile southeast of Diamond Bluff at 7:20 p.m. 

Ellsworth, WI tornado

EF-0 with 70-80 mph winds. It lasted 1.7 miles and was just 25 yards wide, touching down one mile east of Ellsworth at 7:26 p.m. and lifting two minutes later two miles northeast of Ellsworth. 

Next Up

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.


St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Man reported missing in Minneapolis found safe Saturday

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.


There were up to 10 tornadoes in Thursday's outbreak

The original belief was that there were 5-6 tornadoes.

Sheriff: At least 3 tornadoes may have touched down in Fillmore County

The storms spun up tornadoes that went through the southern Minnesota county on Monday.

tornado damage

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.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 7.01.25 AM

6 tornadoes confirmed in July 28 severe outbreak in MN, WI

The strongest tornado hit near Silver Lake, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 9.08.36 AM

Tornado touched down in Rochester, damage survey confirms

With winds up to 107 mph, it was a strong EF-1 tornado.

Confirmed 'large and dangerous tornado' hits southeast Minnesota

Small hail and gusty winds were originally forecast as possibilities, but not tornadoes.

tornado damage

Damage survey reveals tornado hit near Howard Lake

The twister struck just before 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2.

NWS confirms tornado was on the ground for 11 miles

The tornado went through Atwater and Grove City, Minnesota.