Apparent Tornado Leaves Path of Destruction in Minnesota Town

Daylight Thursday revealed a path of destruction left by an apparent tornado in Austin where vehicles were tossed about, homes were heavily damaged and power lines were knocked down.

No serious injuries were reported, but one man who was inside a shed suffered scrapes and bruises when it overturned.

Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp surveyed the damage by helicopter early Thursday.

The National Weather Service said a tornado appeared to touch down in Austin about 8 p.m., sending debris flying. The storm flipped cars on their sides and sent trees through roofs. It also flipped a semi on its side. A dispatcher in the Mower County Sheriff's Office said there was a report of a car blown into a house.

Highway 218 north of Austin was closed due to a fallen power line.

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Dawn Butler, manager of Windrift Lounge and restaurant, said one man inside a shed was injured when it was flipped by high wind. Butler said the man went to the hospital as a precaution.

National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Shea said evidence points to a tornado, but officials wouldn't know for sure until they surveyed the damage Thursday.

Philipp said he saw three tornado touchdowns in Austin, including one at a distance of about 100 yards.

Tornado touchdowns were reported elsewhere in southern Minnesota, and those reports were also awaiting confirmation.

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