Hail storm hits Mankato area; possible tornado devastates Taopi

Hail fell in the Mankato area Tuesday night as a monster storm system moved through the upper midwest. 

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued around 7:30 p.m. in Blue Earth and the surrounding counties.  Reports of 1.5 inch hailstones near Gibbon and Vernon Center trickled into the National Weather Service.  Hail up to 1 ¾ inch in diameter was recorded in Mankato.

Near Faribault, nine semis were blown over on I-35 in the afternoon, closing down lanes of traffic for about an hour.

Taopi, in Mower County, is reporting severe damage from Tuesday night’s storms, which included a possible tornado. The entire town, with a population of just over 50 people, was evacuated Tuesday night.  No one was killed, but several people were injured.  

Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik said in a news release that two residents were trapped in their basement, but were later rescued and transported for evaluation and treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Shelter was also supplied for three families, according to the release.

Crews also reported downed power lines and loose cattle on Highway 56 near Taopi, which remained closed at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Authorities are asking people to stay away from the area as crews begin clean-up.

Mower County is asking for photos to be emailed to Emergency Manager Amy Lammey for damage assessment.


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