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Friday afternoon tornado relief update

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
(218) 732-8757 customer support
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Here are some developments today in the Wadena tornado relief effort:

• A meeting will be held today at 3 p.m. at St. Ann's Parish Center, open to all citizens who want to hear about the effort. It's a chance to get an update and ask questions. All are welcome.

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• The governor is now in Wadena surveying damage. When his visit concludes, the Wadena City Council is expected to pass an emergency declaration in a special meeting. This one is not designed for the public.

• There have been 34 people who received medical care from Tri-County Hospital. Two were admitted, one of them has already been discharged.

• Everyone who was displaced and had to spend the night at the Armory last night has found a place to stay.

• Asked why some people weren't allowed to go into their homes, Police Chief Bruce Uselman pointed out, "Some people don't have homes. There's no home there."

• Uselman also described southwest Wadena as "a war zone."

• Debris on the roads is causing trouble for emergency vehicles: there are a lot of flat tires because of nails and other foreign objects piercing the tires.

• Tri-County Hospital is practicing water conservation, and city officials said it's not a bad idea for citizens. But there's nothing wrong with the water -- it's drinkable.

• The storm opened an anhydrous ammonia leak at Leaf River Ag last night. The leak has been slowed but not stopped. It's still leaking a little, said Fire Chief Dean Uselman.

• Many gas leaks have been stopped, but little ones keep popping up. So far, fire crews are keeping up with them.

• The estimate on the number of homes damaged or destroyed has grown. It is now 232.

• The emergency management committee will meet tonight at 9 p.m. at city hall. That is not open to questions or audience participation, and seating is limited.

• Personal observation: trains are moving incredibly slowly through town, exacerbating a heavy traffic situation.

• The first siren rang out at 4:24 p.m. Thursday. At 5 p.m. a sheriff's deputy spotted a tornado southwest of the city. The estimate of touchdown in the city is 5:10 p.m.

• Clearing and cleaning up the streets is priority one in the effort right now. "It's like a nuclear blast," said Bruce Uselman. "There's stuff all over the place."

More updates as conditions change.

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news@parkrapidsenterprise.com
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