Tornado Likely Touched Down In The Area, NWS SaysBy David Schuman

TAOPI, Minn. (WCCO) — In Mower County, the small town of Taopi is almost completely destroyed.

The National Weather Service confirmed and EF-2 tornado hit there on Tuesday night. It was on the ground for 7 miles and was 250 yards wide. Winds measured more than 130 miles per hour.

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Norma Kiefer, 94, was helped out of her home by her son Jim.

“She went in this bedroom here, and that’s when all the windows blew in,” he said.

Several homes in the area were leveled, and trucks were upended. The small community of less than 75 people was left devestated.

“What do you say? Just lucky people are living,” June Smith from Adams, Minnesota said.

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Jill Kiefer is managing to keep a smile on as she surveys her property.

“We lost the roof on the west part, and the shed in back is totaled,” she said.

Jill and Ted Kiefer have lived in the house for more than 20 years, and they don’t know what’s going to come next. The ceiling collapsed in their bedroom, where they would have been sleeping if they hadn’t taken shelter in the basement on Tuesday.

The Mower County Sheriff’s Office says two people were hurt while trapped in their basement. They were taken to Mayo Clinic and are expected to be okay. Three families needed sheltering and some other families sheltered with relatives or friends.

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Strong winds led to quite the scene down near Faribault, too, where nine semis were blown over on Interstate 35, bringing traffic to a complete stop early Tuesday afternoon.

David Schuman