Hartland community eagerly awaits spring rebuild

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 11:20 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2022 at 11:31 PM CST
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HARTLAND, Minn. (KEYC) — On Dec. 15, an EF-2 tornado hit the town of Hartland. A devastating, historic weather pattern that spanned across most of the Midwest and Great Plains resulted in the first December tornado on record in Minnesota.

“It is kind of surreal to think about Dec. 15, having that type of weather and having that type of a storm,” Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said. “I don’t think we will see that again in my lifetime.”

Now, nearly two months later, the community is still recovering, with several buildings and homes still showing signs of damage from that historic night.

Since mid-December, the city of Hartland and surrounding communities that were impacted by the storms have been working with Hall, who has been assessing the damage and the totals and looking at what comes first in the recovery process.

(National Weather Service)

“They can start making determinations as far as what they are going to do and, of course, we would really like to see as far as a new bank here in town and bringing the post office back,” Hall said.

The Hartland Post Office was destroyed in the storm. Residents have been receiving their mail at the next closest post office in New Richland ever since.

So far, early damage estimates to infrastructure total more than $400,000. Final numbers are expected in the next two months.

“So what is next is people will continue to get estimates, and then I suspect this spring we will see a lot of contractors in town putting new roofs on and doing some demo of some buildings,” Hall explained.

That December day saw temperatures of over 60 degrees and winds approaching 115 mph. Now, snow-covered Hartland waits for the spring thaw so crews can finally get to work.

“We are looking forward to spring and continuing the clean-up efforts in Hartland this spring,” Hall stated.

The National Weather Service reported that 10 tornadoes officially touched down in Minnesota, with 19 more wreaking havoc across Iowa.

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