SD girl killed in Minnesota storms that spawned 2 tornadoes

September 17, 2021 GMT

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A line of strong storms brought damaging winds and at least a couple tornadoes to Minnesota and western Wisconsin early Friday, causing at least one death.

Authorities in Mankato say a 4-year-old girl died when a tree branch fell on a tent at a city park around 2:30 a.m. The Mankato Free Press reported the girl was with her family at the park for the annual Mahkato Wacipi, or powwow.

Powwow Chairman Dave Brave Heart identified her as Natalia Ashes, of Yankton, South Dakota. He said she supposed to dance in a new jingle dress Friday.

“It’s kind of a cloud over our powwow right now,” he said, “but we’re going to try to make it OK with ceremony and prayer.”

To the north, a clean-up was underway across much of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area east into western Wisconsin. The southern and eastern metro area was particularly hard-hit by winds that gusted to 64 mph at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport just after 3 a.m., Minnesota Public Radio reported

The National Weather Service reported Friday evening that its storm survey crews determined the storms spawned at least a couple tornadoes in the south metro in Dakota County — one in Burnsville and the other in Apple Valley. Those tornadoes were not immediately assigned EF strength ratings.