Minneapolis

3rd south metro tornado confirmed in storms that killed 4-year-old girl in Mankato

2021-09-18 11:35:03 –

Overnight thunderstorms across Minnesota left a turbulent wake of power outages, property damage and downed trees Friday, including one that killed a young girl camping with her family in Mankato.

More than 60,000 people in Minnesota and Wisconsin started the day without power, and about 12,000 remained in the dark into the evening. By late Saturday morning, that total was around 5,400.

The storms hit the Twin Cities metro hardest, according to Xcel Energy, which said hundreds of employees worked through Friday to restore power.

The National Weather Service confirmed that at least three tornadoes touched down in Savage, Apple Valley and northeast Burnsville.

The weather service said the St. Cloud area received the most rain — 1.05 inches. A total of 0.24 inches fell at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and 0.14 inches in Mankato.

“We had a lot of wind damage … trees down, trees uprooted,” said meteorologist Chris O’Brien of the NWS’ regional office in Chanhassen.

A 4-year-old girl died when a tree fell on her family’s tent about 2:30 a.m. at Land of Memories Park in Mankato, city officials said. The girl, who was in a tent with her parents, was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Other family members were unharmed.

The family of three was staying at the park for the Mahkato Annual Traditional Powwow, said powwow organizer Dave Brave Heart. He said the girl, whose first name was Nytalia, was excited to wear her new jingle dress and participate in the jingle dress special, a traditional healing dance.

Citing the family’s privacy, Brave Heart declined to give the girl’s last name. Mankato police said they did not plan to identify her for 24 hours.

Brave Heart said the family planned to remain at the park with spiritual and community leaders while they grieved.

“They’re going to stay for the rest of the powwow; that’s what their daughter would want,” he said.

A jingle dress dance and a blanket dance were planned this weekend to raise money to benefit the family, Brave Heart said.

He said organizers have been criticized for not canceling the powwow, a three-day event that Explore Minnesota says has been held annually since 1972.

“The family does not want that,” Brave Heart said. “They want to honor their daughter, to be able to create some kind of healing memory.”

O’Brien, the meteorologist, said Friday morning’s storm was not uncommon for September. The severe-weather season generally lasts until late in the month or early October.

Much of the metro-area damage stretched from Savage to Eagan.

In addition, three schools canceled classes after losing power in the South Washington County Schools district: Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, Pullman Elementary and Hillside Elementary.

The storm forced Stillwater Area Public Schools to cancel or delay in-person classes for two hours, while St. Croix Preparatory Academy in Stillwater closed for the day.

To report a power failure, call 1-800-895-1999 or text ‘OUT’ to 98936.

Staff writer Alex Chhith contributed to this report.

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3rd south metro tornado confirmed in storms that killed 4-year-old girl in Mankato Source link 3rd south metro tornado confirmed in storms that killed 4-year-old girl in Mankato

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