Originally published May 13, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) — The National Weather Service Friday declared that the damage in the Alexandria area was caused by a tornado — and are working to determine how strong — along with straight-line winds north of the city reaching speeds of 100 mph.

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Alexandria was one of the hardest hit communities in Thursday night’s storm. It resulted in a full day of cutting and clean up for a neighborhood along Lake Darling.

Some yards had more damage than others, including Mary Ann Schlosser’s yard.

“Why me? I’ve had other damage before but never nothing like this,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser was still in the main part of her home when a large tree fell on top of her roof.

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“I glanced out front and saw a tree fell on the house and then I looked out the dining window and saw all this [damage], and all I could do was just cry,” Schlosser said.

When she woke up to assess the full scope of the damage, she saw that her garage was blown away and pieces of it scattered in her yard. Also all of her pine trees were either snapped off or uprooted.

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“We planted all these trees,” Schlosser said. “And look at them now, they’re all gone.”

The house next door to Schlosser was almost completely blown away. The family of four who live there, including two kids, survived by taking shelter in the basement of Brian Casavan’s home across the street.

“Just lasted an instant. I got settled in the basement, heard a big thud and it was over,” Casavan said.

He says he’s grateful his neighbors took shelter in his home since most of it was blown away.

“They moved in here last year, and I hadn’t had a chance to meet them yet, but immediately after the storm, I went to their house to get them and bring them to mine and met them for the first time and their children,” Casavan said.

Sometimes devastation can bring out the best in people, and in this neighborhood, it proved just that with all the people who showed up to help with the clean up.

“Oh yeah, it’s been wonderful. Everyone is just out pitching in wherever they can help. It’s a great thing,” Casavan said.

“I’ve had so many caring people to stop in and help, it’s just overwhelming,” Schlosser said.

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Most of Alexandria’s power has been restored. The city is encouraging all neighbors who have trees down in their private property to bring them to the Douglas County landfill.

Marielle Mohs