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Tornado damages Winona cemetery

Kaitlyn Riley

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Photo Credit: National Weather Service

A brief tornado caused substantial damage to trees at the Woodlawn Cemetery near Winona, Minn. Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado touched down around 6:22 a.m. The service predicted peak winds reached 95 miles an hour. The tornado traveled 0.2 miles and hit a maximum width of 80 yards.

“There actually was a severe thunderstorm warning off to the west, but the environment really wasn’t conducive for producing those longer-tracked tornadoes,” Clint Aegerter, meteorologist, said. “It just barely came together long enough to produce the tornado that ended up lasting about a minute.”

The tornado damaged trees, which then fell on a building and headstones. The National Weather Service said there was other tree and power-line damage reported in Winona but concluded it was the result of high wind.

“Damage with a tornado is a little bit more chaotic I guess you could say, whereas straight-line wind damage is all just kind of lined out in one line and kind of more organized,” Aegerter said.

In response to questions on social media, the National Weather Service said no tornado warning was issued because the rotation on radar was weak.

Meteorologists said, by the time the warning would have been issued, the threat would have been over.

The National Weather Service did not hear of any damage until an hour after the event.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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