One year later: A look back at the May 12, 2022 tornado

Douglas County continues to host a Long Term Recovery Group for those impacted by both the May 12 tornado/storm and the May 30 one in Forada.

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A tornado ripped through a house on South Darling Drive on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Echo Press file photo

DOUGLAS COUNTY — One year ago – May 12, 2022 – the first of two tornadoes that hit Douglas County in a span of 18 days, wreaked havoc on several neighborhoods and caused extensive damage.

According to the National Weather Service website, the quick tornado touched down near the south side of Lake Darling, where it caused significant damage to many homes. It then tracked across the lake before causing more tree and home damage just east of County Road 11 and County Road 34. From there, it moved across a small part of Lake Carlos before dissipating on the west side of Lake Carlos.

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This screenshot from the National Weather Service website provides details about the May 12, 2022 tornado.

Its path length was 2.5 miles, the National Weather Service reported, and it was rated a strong EF1 with estimated maximum winds of 110 miles per hour.

It lasted only three minutes – from 7:12 p.m. until 7:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

In an online Echo Press article dated May 17, 2022, the tornado and accompanying thunderstorm toppled decades-old trees, power lines, transformers, boat lifts and other structures. Houses were flattened, roofs were torn away, vehicles were damaged, boats were turned over and buildings were damaged. Reports of destruction came from Alexandria, Garfield, Osakis and Carlos.


A home at the corner of Donna Drive and Meadow Lane was ripped apart.

It was also reported that Runestone Electric Association had more than 7,000 service accounts without power, which was listed at 60% of its service territory. Crews from REA, ALP Utilities, Lake Region Electric Cooperative, Stearns Electric Association and Highline Construction worked through the weekend to restore power to the devastated areas.

Local law enforcement agencies were also busy throughout the storm and its aftermath. Between 7 p.m. and midnight, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Alexandria Police Department and Osakis Police Department responded to about 40 calls for service related to the storm – trees falling on electric lines, downed power poles, trees blocking roads, sparking power lines, property damage, semis in the median on I-94, jack-knifed semis, electrical fires, boat lifts blown from a cabin onto a road, and more.

Julie Anderson, Douglas County Emergency Management director, said the county continues to host a Long Term Recovery Group for those impacted by both the May 12 tornado/storm and the May 30 one in Forada.

Julie Anderson

“This group is still active and hopes to find new opportunities to raise funds to assist homeowners still recovering,” she said.

She also said the group hosted a Coping Skills event, which was led by retired psychologist Leann Jorgensen. This event could be held again if people were interested, she said, noting that it would once again be free of charge. If people are interested, they can call Anderson at 320-304-7115.

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This overhead shot of house ravaged by a tornado on Thursday, May 12, 2022, was taken with a drone by Andrew Lauer of Alexandria. The house sits on the corner of West Meadow Lane NW and Donna Drive in northwest Alexandria.
Andrew Lauer / Contributed photo

In addition, other events were held where an insurance specialist from the Minnesota Department of Commerce attended to assist in filling out paperwork for those with complaints or concerns about their insurance company. Those who are continuing to have issues can contact her directly – Katherine Toomajian, 651-539-4037.

Anderson said there are residents across the county who are still very much in the recovery phase, not only from the May 12 tornado, but also the May 30 one.

Watch the Echo Press next Friday, May 26, for more information and stories regarding the May 30 tornado in Forada.


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Alexandria firefighters work to remove a tree that crashed on top of a house on Donna Drive in norhwest Alexandria on the night the May 12, 2022 tornado touched down.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo
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This overhead drone picture taken by Andrew Lauer of Alexandria shows the widespread damage to an area in northwest Alexandria after a tornado hit shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Some of the hardest hit areas were Donna Drive and South Darling Drive.
Andrew Lauer / Contributed photo
The National Weather Service has not yet finalized a tornado rating but believes the wind speed was at least 100 miles per hour.
Dustin and Desiree Wiita, along with their four young children, were safe in the their basement under the stairwell in a storage space when the storm hit their neighborhood in northwest Alexandria on Thursday, May 11.
Several houses in Chad Schroeder’s neighborhood – South Darling Drive NW, Donna Drive NW, Edna Drive NW, West Meadow Lane NW and South Darling Court NW – were damaged in the tornado, which produced 100 mile per hour winds, according to the National Weather Service.
Crews restore power, chainsaws cut up trees

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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