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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.