16 confirmed tornadoes touched down last week

Five tornadoes touched down in Fillmore County, six in Freeborn County, two in Winona County, and single tornadoes in Wabasha, Mower and Houston counties during last week's historic storm.

December Storm Aftermath
Debris remains in Racine, Minn., Thursday morning, Dec. 16, 2021, after a severe storm Wednesday night.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

The National Weather Service has confirmed that 16 tornadoes touched down Wednesday, Dec. 15, in southern and southeast Minnesota during the historic storm that rampaged through the Midwest.

The storm shattered several Minnesota records for severe weather in December; the tornadoes were the first ever recorded in Minnesota in December.

"This just hasn't happened before," said Stu Ireland, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service-La Crosse, Wis.

The wind barreled into the region at speeds between 60 and 90 mph, destroying buildings, uprooting trees, leaving cities without power, and killing one Rochester man when a tree fell on him.

Ahead of the storm, tornado warnings were issued, another first for the state.


The first tornado touched down in Alden, Minn., in Freeborn County at 6:56 p.m.. For about the next hour, 15 more tornadoes hit, with the last one recorded in Homer, Minn., in Winona County, at 8:16 p.m.

The weather service released reports detailing the location, time, strength and damage done by 13 tornadoes.

The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities confirmed tornadoes in the towns of Hayward, Myrtle and London, in Freeborn County. Details about those tornadoes has not been released.

Fillmore County

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Storm Coverage
About 1,900 customers were without power on Thursday, amounting to 85% of the city, said Capt. Jon Jacobson, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office emergency management director. Nine power lines were down in the city, causing “major infrastructure damage” at the main substation.
The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes touched down Wednesday night in Minnesota -- one in Hartland in Freeborn County and the other in Lewiston in Winona County.They are the first tornadoes ever recorded in December in Minnesota. Wednesday night's severe thunderstorm wreaked havoc throughout southern and southeast Minnesota.
The 65-year-old man was outside around 8 p.m. Wednesday night, Dec. 15, 2021, when a tree fell on him and his truck.
View photos of damage after a thunderstorm rolled through Southeast Minnesota on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
About 15% of People's Energy Cooperative customers were without power as of 7:57 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.
Between 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, and 2 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, the Rochester Fire Department responded to 35 calls for service.
A High Wind Warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16.

Freeborn County

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Houston County

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Mower County

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Wabasha County

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Winona County

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Erich is a digital content producer at the Post Bulletin where he creates content for the Post Bulletin's digital platforms. Before he moved to Rochester, Erich worked as a sports reporter for covering the University of Illinois' athletic programs in Champaign, Illinois. Readers can reach Erich at 507-285-7681 or
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