Tornado rips through Clarks Grove
The National Weather Service made it official early Tuesday ruling that considerable property damage in Clarks Grove Monday night, March 6 was caused by an F-1 tornado.
The tornado struck this small city of 687 at about 5:45 p.m. Skies darkened and the winds ripped through Clarks Grove causing damage to residences, to downtown businesses and to the Clarks Grove Fire Department station.
Authorities said the tornado covered a 12-mile area.
The front wall of the Clarks Grove Hardware Store was buckled and the roof of the store was totally destroyed. Owners Jon and Sue Mickelson were surveying damage into the night and early the next morning.
It was very possible that the fire station building would be a total loss with part of its roof being removed, said Clarks Grove Mayor Bruce Hansen.
Damage was also done to Central Farm Services, the fertilizer plant, and to Thompson Sanitation.
Mayor Hansen complimented all emergency crews for their response following the tornado.
The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Department, led by Sheriff Kurt Frietag, set up a command center in Clarks Grove and closed off the city to traffic. Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele and deputies were also on the scene.
Barricades were placed on all sides of the city.
Mayor Hansen said that Freeborn County highway engineer Sue Miller dispatched crews, trucks and other equipment to help with cleanup on Tuesday, March 6. Volunteers also helped with the cleanup.
Power lines were blown down and caused a power outage until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday.
Fire departments from Clarks Grove, Geneva, Ellendale, Manchester, Hayward, Glenville and Hollandale were called to the scene of the damage in Clarks Grove.
The Geneva Fire Department also kept firefighters on the scene of damage to property in this small city, said retired Chief Greg Bartsch. Large trees were uprooted on a road leading south of Geneva.
Chris Bartsch said a felled evergreen on his lawn was more than 70 years old.
Thirty students from the New Richland Hartland Ellendale Geneva High School were on the scene in Geneva on Wednesday to help with cleanup.