(Dalton, MN) A tornado ripped through portions of Otter Tail and Grant Counties Wednesday afternoon, leaving one person dead and two others injured. Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons confirms one person died. The man, 30 year old Seth Nelson of Battle Lake, was working in a shed at the Travis Hansen farm near Dalton, MN when it collapsed on top of him. Another Battle Lake man didn't think he would survive the tornado that hit the farm near Dalton where he was working late Wednesday afternoon. Nate Erickson says he made a split decision to dive under a tractor that saved his life as the shop walls around him started to collapse. Erickson held on to the tractor as he was dragged across the ground but he survived. A slab of concrete is all that remains of the shop where Erickson and 30-year-old Seth Nelson worked in alongside one another. The two were together when the tornado ripped through the building, killing Nelson. Erickson says he hasn’t slept well since the tornado and expects it will be sometime before he "begins trusting mother nature."
A mile east of there, Gareth and Linda Klimek were home when the twister hit. Their home was completely destroyed. Linda says luckily they escaped with only minor bumps and bruises. One of their cars was left standing on its nose, in the house. Another was in the backyard under some trees, and a third was more than 100 yards away, upside down in a pond.
Linda describes when the tornado passed over them. (AUDIO Below)
Three farmsteads were hit with one farmhouse destroyed. The twister crossed Interstate 94 but didn’t involve any vehicles on the road. National Weather Service meteorologists say the tornado is believed to be in the E-F-4 category, with its estimated peak wind of 170 miles-an-hour. The tornado began at 5:08 PM in Grant County and intensified; ending at 5:39pm in Otter Tail County. The length of the tornado on the ground was 9 miles and its width reached 650 yards.
Amateur and professional videographers were out in large numbers shooting video of the tornado, that was on the ground for over 20 minutes. The storm followed heavy storm damage in the area, all around Battle Lake. The tornado was spotted as far east as Evansville and Brandon.
Additional information was provided by Learfield Wire Services.