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Weather Service details path, strength of tornado

Associated Press

CHANHASSEN, Minn. -- The storm destruction in Le Sueur and Nicollet counties last week was caused by a single tornado that traveled 30 miles on the ground, the National Weather Service said Monday.

The NWS said Thursday's tornado, rated as an F3, grew in width from several dozen feet to half a mile. The twister destroyed or damaged nearly 100 homes and caused millions of dollars of damage.

An F3 tornado has winds of 158 to 206 mph.

A tornado damage expert studied the destruction and determined the tornado traveled from 3 miles west of Nicollet, through that town and east to the southern edge of St. Peter and the northern edge of Kasota before it dissipated 5 miles northwest of Waterville.

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The Weather Service was still looking into reports of one or two tornadoes west of Nicollet and of touchdowns east in Rice County.

Le Sueur County is seeking volunteers to help clean up the debris, a task that could take up to six weeks. People 16 or older may call the hotline at (507) 357-8211 to volunteer for four-hour shifts on weekends. County residents can use the hotline to notify officials that they need help. The hotline is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The effort includes work with debris with sharp edges.

Cleanup needs in Nicollet County are being met by friends and neighbors, a dispatcher said Monday.

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