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home : news : news January 25, 2015

6/26/2014 10:32:00 AM
Slow moving funnel touches down west of Hampton

by Ken Haggerty

A storm cell popped up in very hot and very humid conditions around noon on Monday on a line from Hampton to Hastings, generating a large funnel cloud spotted by many. No major damage or injuries were reported.

There was a reported touchdown, despite claims by the National Weather Service and Twin Cities TV weather reports that it was a harmless cold weather spout that wouldn't reach the ground.

Paul Hoffman, (son of Allen and Marilyn Hoffman) was within 100 feet of the funnel when it touched down on the Hoffman farm on Chesley Trail (Dakota County Highway 80) between 240th and 245th. The farm is a little over a mile west of the city limits of Hampton.

Hoffman said it sounded like a loud waterfall and was moving debris up a couple hundred feet in the air. It sucked one shed door off its track and another shed door was bent in the middle. "It was a pretty good vacuum, sucking a lot of the dust out of the one shed," said Hoffman. He said alfalfa they were getting ready to cut and bale had its leaves stripped. A few trees were knocked around.

Hoffman said you can see on the ground at the bottom of the hill to the south of the farmstead that it was on the ground for about a quarter mile. It had already lifted when it reached a neighboring farm where he keeps cattle.

The storm front was very slow moving and the funnel cloud for the most part stayed high in the air on the back edge of the front, forming and reforming to various degrees and at various heights. Visible rotation of the funnel was slow and slight at most times. It lifted as it approached Hampton and Hwy. 52,

Dakota County sounded sirens along the path of the storm after confirmed sightings of the funnel cloud, although the NWS never made any official watch or warning issuance. The storm did generate intense downpours, quickly filling ditches in an area with already saturated soils.

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