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Photo by Rachelle Klemme Angie Huttunen shows a golf ball-sized hail stone fitting snugly into a dinner glass.

This time: hail, more wind

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Wadena PJ
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Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

A damaging hail storm on Saturday, July 17 was merely the latest episode in a month plagued by severe weather and multiple tornado warnings. For the extended Huttunen family and other residents north of Wadena and Bluffton, the heavy rain and large hailstones dropping into their property were only the tip of the iceberg.

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In fact, the Huttunen farm took more damage from the Wednesday, July 14 windstorms than the June 17 EF4 tornado itself.

"We got a couple of trees down [on June 17], but nothing like this," Kevin Huttunen said.

The windstorm left many trees bent in disarray and made a mess around the farm.

The Huttunens were in the process of cleaning the existing debris when yet another round of severe weather hit the Wadena-Otter Tail Counties area. Kevin Huttunen's sister-in-law, Angie Huttunen, along with her husband and children, saved some of the largest hailstones to land in their yard. It took only a few big chunks of the precipitation to fill an ice cream pail, and Angie Huttunen got to show them and take pictures before most of the hailstones melted.

About half a mile away, Kevin Huttunen's 30x40 shed lost its walls and roof to the high-speed wind, leaving only some interior equipment and furniture in place. Parts of the wall scattered into the nearby swamp and cornfield. The roof caught onto a tree trunk and wrapped around it.

In another pile of storm damage, a red lawn mower lay trapped among building debris.

The scene may have looked like the work of a small tornado. However, the deputy sheriff declared it to be from a straight line wind, according to Huttunen.

Rural homes and farms northwest of Wadena and north of Bluffton were hit hard by both the July 14 and July 17 storms. Low-lying grounds and marsh areas flooded, and some dirt roads still contained puddles as of Monday afternoon.

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