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Originally published May 14, 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.

Web Extra: Aerial Footage Of Storm Damage

“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.

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Next Weather: Back-To-Back Alert Days For Severe Holiday Weekend Storms

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Things are going to be heating up Saturday, but then come back-to-back Next Weather Alert days as the holiday weekend rolls on.

WCCO meteorologist Mike Augustyniak says Saturday should dry out following morning showers and thunderstorms, with conditions getting muggy and hot. High temperatures are expected to reach the mid-80s.

Saturday night will see isolated severe thunderstorms develop in western Minnesota after midnight, as storms that form earlier in the day across South Dakota and Nebraska move into the state.

The main overnight threat looks to be from hail, Augustyniak said.

Sunday is the first of two consecutive Next Weather Alert days. After early morning storms, a quiet period will linger until early afternoon, when another round of thunderstorms will develop in west-central and northwestern Minnesota.

“All modes of severe weather are possible with this round — large hail, damaging straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding,” Augustyniak said.

Sunday night could bring scattered showers in any given corner of the state, with flooding and damaging winds looking to be the most likely threats.

Memorial Day will be the second Next Weather Alert day, with hot, humid and hazy sun developing from the Twin Cities on south. Augustyniak says temperatures in the 90s are not out of the question.

Severe thunderstorms will likely redevelop by early- to mid-afternoon and continue through the evening.

Augustyniak says strong tornadoes are possible, along with large hail and damaging straight-line winds and flooding.

The rest of next week looks less dramatic, and less stiflingly hot.

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