‘All I could do was cry’: Straight-line winds ravage Alexandria neighborhood – WCCO

Originally published May 13, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) — The National Weather Service said Friday the damage in the Alexandria area was caused by a tornado – and is working to determine its strength – along with straight-line winds north of the city reaching speeds of 100 mph .

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Alexandria was one of the communities hardest hit by Thursday night’s storm. It resulted in a full day of cutting and cleaning for a neighborhood along Lake Darling.

Some sites suffered more damage than others, notably that of Mary Ann Schlosser.

“Why me? I’ve had other damage before, but never anything like this,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser was still in the main part of his house when a large tree fell on his roof.

Web Extra: Aerial Images of Storm Damage

“I looked ahead and saw a tree falling on the house, then I looked out the dining room window and saw the whole thing. [damage]and all I could do was cry,” Schlosser said.

When she awoke to assess the extent of the damage, she saw her garage had been blown away and pieces of it strewn across her yard. In addition, all of its pines were either snapped or uprooted.

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“We planted all these trees,” Schlosser said. “And look at them now, they’re all gone.”

Schlosser’s house next door was almost completely destroyed. The family of four living there, including two children, survived by taking refuge in the basement of Brian Casavan’s house across the street.

“It only lasted a moment. I moved to the basement, I heard a loud noise and it was over,” Casavan said.

He says he is grateful that his neighbors took refuge in his home as most of it was blown away.

“They moved here last year, and I hadn’t had a chance to meet them yet, but immediately after the storm, I went to their house to pick them up and bring them to my house and met them for the first time as well as their children,” Casavan said.

Sometimes devastation can bring out the best in people, and in this neighborhood, that proved right with all the people who showed up to help with the cleanup.

“Oh yes, it was wonderful. Everyone is just where they can help. It’s a good thing,” said Casavan.

“I’ve had so many caring people to stop and help me, it’s just overwhelming,” Schlosser said.

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Most of Alexandria’s power was restored. The city is encouraging any neighbors who have cut down trees on their private property to take them to the Douglas County landfill.

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