Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Severe weather that apparently included tornadoes blasted through portions of southeast Minnesota Thursday evening, causing widespread damage.

According to reports from the National Weather Service, the most severe weather and damage was in an area from Faribault, Owatonna and Waseca, through West Concord, Northfield and Cannon Falls, and Red Wing.

The reports include damaged or destroyed buildings, large numbers of downed trees and power outages. Significant damage was reported at the Faribault airport. Winds gusts up to 70 mph were reported in the storm zone as were several suspected tornadoes.

Because of the damage, several school districts in the storm zone will open late Friday. Cannon Falls schools will be closed.

So far, no injuries have been reported.

The Twin Cities NWS says it plans to send storm survey teams to the storm zone Friday “to determine the exact locations and strengths of reported tornadoes. Some preliminary results will be posted on Friday but complete finalized reports may not be available for several days.”

The immediate Rochester area escaped the severe weather but a wind gust of 50 mph was recorded at the St. Marys Hospital helipad. Rainfall recorded at the Rochester airport was 1.8 inches, a new record for the date. It also raised the monthly total to 7 ½ inches, making it the 6th wettest September on record.

The severe weather was triggered by a fast-moving cold front that pushed the temperature at the Rochester airport from the upper 60s during Thursday afternoon to 80 degrees at 6:30 PM. Temps began falling after the front passed and will drop into the upper 30s across SE Minnesota Saturday morning.

The autumnal equinox will be observed Saturday evening.

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