A tornado touched down in Scandia Sunday afternoon, July 28, leaving a trail of debris and destruction.
Visiting the site Monday, National Weather Service staff confirmed that the cause of damage was a tornado. NWS will give further details about the size and type of tornado on its website, weather.gov. Basic details were expected to be live Monday night, with further reports posted later in the week.
The tornado started in Forest Lake, moving northeast through the solar farm on Highway 97 and Manning Trail, according to Scandia’s mayor, Christine Maefsky.
Rather than touching down and running a through line of damage, the tornado touched down and lifted off several times.
“It didn’t stay on the ground the whole time,” Maefsky said. “That was a good thing.”
Homes near Bone Lake seemed to be the hardest hit, Maefsky reported, with 9 to 12 houses damaged, many trees down and other property damage. At least one solar panel was in a tree.
“It hit the solar garden and took out some panels and spread them around a little bit,” said Fire Chief Mike Hinz, who toured Scandia with the National Weather Service crew. “As far as home damage, we saw roof damage — from shingles missing to debris through the roof and one pole barn had a completely missing roof. There was a lot of property damage from trees hitting homes, automobiles and boats. On Bone Lake, docks and boats were damaged due to the wind.”
No major injuries were reported.
“I drove through neighborhoods and talked with people this morning,” Maefsky said. “People seem to be accepting. They’re thankful no one was hurt, and were very busy cleaning up.
“It was unexpected,” the mayor continued. “It’s not normal tornado season.”
Maefsky said she is authorizing the city to help residents with some clean up.
“If they get tree debris curbside the city will help get rid of it,” she said, noting that people from the fire crew, Scandia’s deputy and public works staff were also helping.
“There’s been a lot of support for taking care of things,” she said, including County Commissioner Fran Miron reaching out to ask if there was anything he could do.
Without a new city administrator finalized, other staff will have extra work to do in coming weeks.
“But,” said Maefsky, “we have a good team of people working.”