Hartland community comes together to clean up after historic EF-2 tornado

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 9:52 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2021 at 9:00 PM CST
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HARTLAND, Minn. (KEYC) — Unprecedented December weather brought a tornado to Hartland Wednesday night.

On Thursday, the community of Hartland came together to clean up some damage caused by the high winds.

“It is just like nothing like I have ever seen, honestly,” Hartland resident Noah Nielsen said. “It’s unreal.”

“We can’t do much about Mother Nature but if the last two years have taught me anything it is that nothing surprises me anymore,” Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said.

Historic buildings were destroyed as the strong winds whirled through the town of Hartland. Strong winds were seen throughout the state, but in Hartland, the National Weather Service determined this damage was done by an EF-2 tornado. It’s the first once seen in December in Minnesota.

With a population of just over 300, this town has seen tornados and high winds before.

“We knew it was pretty bad, but once we got that daylight we had seen that there was a lot more than we originally thought. Well, our community, we all know each other, and we are going to help each other and that is just how it is,” Nielsen said. “It has happened 10, 12 years ago, we all came together then, and we can again.”

Despite the destruction caused throughout the town, there are no reports of any people harmed. The last 24 hours have been filled with preparation before the storm hit and recuperation after the storm had passed.

Some Hartland residents began knocking on doors after the storm to make sure that everyone was safe.

“This is a pretty resilient community, it is a small town in the heartland of Minnesota,” Hall said. “It truly is a tight-knit community and no matter where you’re at, the people are working together and getting the job done.”

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