Tornadoes claim life of woman with ties to area; flatten turkey barns near Parkers Prairie
A series of tornadoes that roared through Minnesota Thursday started in Douglas County.
A woman with local ties to the area was killed in the storm.
Margie Schulke, 79, of Almora, a small town of about 20 people located seven miles north of Parkers Prairie, was found across the road from where her mobile home once stood. Her husband, Norman Schulke, was also injured and taken to the Douglas County Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
Schulke has several relatives and friends in the Alexandria area.
A tornado also destroyed three 500-foot turkey barns on a farm owned by Terry and Janet Carlson of Parkers Prairie.
The Carlsons had 25,000 turkeys in the barns at the time of the tornado and have estimated that over half of the birds perished.
The hardest hit area was Wadena. Twenty people were injured, several homes and businesses were destroyed, the community center is gone and the roof was torn off the high school (see related story).
It was supposed to be a weekend of celebration in Wadena as the community was gearing up for an all-school reunion. The event is still on, for now, although some activities were cancelled.
A total of three deaths statewide are being attributed to the tornadoes.
Along with Schulke, Wes Michaels of Mentor, located in Poke County, died while protecting his daughter and others from storm debris at his family-owned Cenex gas station.
The other fatality was reported west of Albert Lea. Kathy Woodside, 66, was killed when a tornado destroyed her farmhouse and barn.
Douglas County itself escaped most of the storm damage.
Hail larger than golf ball sized was reported in some areas of the county, along with heavy rain, high winds and two confirmed tornado touch downs observed by Douglas County deputies and weather spotters.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office didn't receive reports of injuries but the storm damaged some buildings and downed trees.
Hail pelted Gary Brever's Plough Share Farm near Parkers Prairie, badly damaging lettuce, potatoes, broccoli, summer squash and tomato plants.
The Echo Press is planning follow-up coverage of the storm, which will include several photos taken Thursday night showing the tornado damage near Parkers Prairie and in Almora.
Readers who have storm-related photos are encouraged to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.