Small southeast Minnesota farming community cleaning up tornado damage

April 15, 2022

TAOPI, Minn. (AP) — Residents of a small farming community in southeastern Minnesota are working to recover from a devastating tornado that destroyed half of the town’s homes, toppled tall trees and left piles of debris in its wake.

An EF2 tornado with peak wind speeds of 130 mph struck Taopi, Minnesota near the Iowa border late Tuesday night, tearing the roofs off houses, overturning vehicles and bringing down power lines. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Volunteers from the area arrived Wednesday to help residents clean up the debris in the community of about 80 people. Family members sifted through rubble looking for keepsakes.

“Half the town is gone,” City Clerk Jim Kiefer said. Of Taopi’s 22 homes, at least 10 are beyond repair, with roofs and walls missing, he said. Kiefer said his house is OK, but his mother’s is a total loss.

“She won’t be going home,” he said.

The community has been remodeling a former grocery store on Main Street which was to become the new town hall. But, a power pole landed on the historic wooden structure, which will now have to be razed, Kiefer said.