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No. 8: Heavy snowfall, tornadoes and high winds

Winds of 40 mph or more peeled off the metal roof on Wausau Supply Company Distribution Center in Cannon Falls. The Sept. 20 evening storm sent pieces of the roof and insulation hundreds of yards into nearby corn fields and yards. Rachel Fergus / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Helping his neighbors, Karl Bakke of Red Wing cuts up a fallen tree on West Fifth Street on Aug. 27, 2018, an hour after a storm hit. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2018. Find the rest of the series here: Top Ten 2018.

With heavy snowfalls coming in the first month of the year and strong winds and tornadoes closing out the summer, Goodhue County experienced a variety of weather-related extremes.

On Jan, 22, a blizzard pummeled southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin all through the day and into the next morning. Goodhue County saw snowfalls totaling more than a foot in some areas.

The following were notable snowfall totals in Goodhue County, according to the National Weather Service:

• Goodhue: 14 inches

• Cannon Falls: 13.5 inches

• Red Wing: 12.7 inches

• Zumbrota: 12 inches

• Pine Island: 10 inches

While it was a wet spring and a dry summer across the county, Red Wing was hit severely by winds, some reaching 82 mph, according to readings at Red Wing Regional Airport.

A tornado warning was announced on Aug. 27, lasting an hour. The storm traveled quickly, crossing through Cannon Falls and Welch and reaching Red Wing by 5:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service Twin Cities Twitter account said on Aug. 28 that after conducting it damage survey, two brief tornadoes occurred just east of Nerstrand and in Vasa.

The next day, Tom Blue of the Red Wing Airport said the area experienced extensive damage, Roofs blew off the main hangar and a private hangar. A hangar under construction was blown down.

The Red Wing Police and Fire departments said they did not have to respond to any injuries as a result of the winds. The Fire Department did respond to a collapsed building, however.

Then on Sept. 20, the National Weather Service reported 25 tornadoes touched down in the state—the third most in recorded Minnesota history.

In Goodhue County, tornadoes moving through Cannon Falls, Zumbrota, Prairie Island, and Wanamingo were observed, with one sighted in Pierce County, Wisconsin as well.

A state of emergency was declared in Cannon Falls the following day, with the Cannon Falls School District cancelling classes as well.

Ten lift stations had no power, so the city was relying on generators to prevent sewage back.

On Sept. 21, Xcel Energy reported 49 outages affecting 1,470 customers.

There were no injuries, but power lines and trees came down all around town. Many volunteers were recruited to help clean up the city from all of the debris.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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