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Possible tornados re-visit area; one injured; widespread damage reported

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Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

For Hubbard County it was déja vu all over again.

Residents near Emmaville were startled to hear tornado sirens blaring from Camp Wilderness, the Boy Scout camp. The sirens started just before 3 a.m. Tuesday and sounded continuously for 30 minutes.

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Rural Osage residents in northern Becker County woke to the sound of a freight train around 2:30 a.m., the tell-tale sound of a tornado.

"I was petrified," said Warren Paulson, who was sleeping in his camper trailer near Osage. He woke to find his lawn and deck littered with trees.

Residents on Long Lake just outside Park Rapids woke up to downed trees, overturned boats and a mess of branches littering the lakeshore.

"We did have a tree fall on a camper sleeping in a tent and from what I understand he has a possible leg fracture," said Hubbard County Sheriff's Department office administrator Linda Eishens. "That was somewhere in Todd Township."

And Eischens said lightning struck a barn in Crow Wing Township and caught fire. Nevis fire chief Kerry Swenson said the 20-by-50 foot shed and lumber inside were destroyed when the lightning struck around 2:30 a.m..

The National Weather Service by late Tuesday had not confirmed that a tornado struck near Osage, but residents surveying their damaged properties have no doubt a twister hit.

Emergency management director Dave Konshok said local officials will invite Weather Service personnel here to survey the damage because often with lower level tornados that's the only way they can make a determination as to whether a twister blew through.

"It sounded like a big semi coming right at you," said Joni Sharp, whose shed was destroyed. "And some big piece of tin flew into the yard."

Sharp said she sleeps to the sound of her television and did hear the severe thunderstorm warnings, but only had about five minutes warning before her property was destroyed.

"It was freaky," she said. "It scared the hell out of my cow. It pinned the dog underneath the trailer."

That "piece of tin" Sharp found was a 10-foot-long section. It belonged to Dennis Dodge's storage garage more than one-half mile away.

"Somebody took my roof!" Dodge joked about the pile of rubble that used to store his belongings.

Much of the damage near Osage was confined to Frazier and Witter roads.

Traffic started steaming by the rural area to get a glimpse of downed trees and mess reminiscent of the tornado that struck Pickerel Lake June 6.

Paulson's nephew, LeRoy Paulson, surveyed his damaged wheat crop in dismay where Dodge's garage emptied its contents.

"It was a really great crop," he said. "It'll be impossible to harvest." Debris was strewn all over the field, down the road, and in Sharp's yard.

Other reports of damage came in from Highway 71 near Utke's Country Pine Furnishings north of Park Rapids. That was one area where power was out when trees fell on power lines.

Konshok said emergency personnel monitored besides Utke's and many reports of trees down.

By Tuesday afternoon, the buzz of chain saws was alive on Frazier Road. The Paulsons had just finished fencing off their cattle in a small area near the farmstead. Normally the cows roam the woods surrounding the farm. The woods have been demolished. The cattle were contentedly grazing late Tues-day. Their only need was water - lots of it.

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