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Wadena Tornado June 17, 2010. Overview. Focus is on two storms out of an outbreak of 35 tornadoes within the Warning Area Only two fatalities reported from outbreak First severe signatures appeared in Douglas County, MN (MPX)

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Wadena tornado june 17 2010
Wadena TornadoJune 17, 2010


  • Focus is on two storms out of an outbreak of 35 tornadoes within the Warning Area

    • Only two fatalities reported from outbreak

  • First severe signatures appeared in Douglas County, MN (MPX)

    • Issued first warnings based on storm strength and movement while still in Douglas County

  • Storm intensity sustained as it entered Ottertail County (FGF)

  • Initial warnings issued to provide sufficient lead time for protection of lives and property

Base reflectivity at 3 43 p m
Base Reflectivity at 3:43 p.m.

Base velocity at 3 43 p m
Base Velocity at 3:43 p.m.

Almora bluffton

  • The velocity product gave a better indication of storm location and path

  • The first tornado was the storm that passed near Parkers Prairie, Almora, and Deer Creek before turning right and striking near Bluffton

  • One fatality occurred at a farm house near Almora

    • Located approximately 7 miles north-northwest of the city of Parkers Prairie


  • The second storm followed fairly close behind the first

    • More of a straight northeast track

  • Touchdown was approximately 3 miles southwest of Wadena

  • Several homes and businesses destroyed

    • No fatalities despite higher population density

  • Prompted additional warnings for Sebeka and Nimrod areas due to projected path of storms


  • Both storms rated as EF-4

  • First storm tracking from near Almora to Bluffton resulted in single fatality

    • Second storm developed and tracked approximately 30 minutes behind first

  • Multiple warnings required due to storm coverage and movement

  • Warnings issued in a timely manner

    • 42 minutes lead time for Almora-Bluffton storm

    • 35 minutes lead time for Wadena storm

Wadena tornado
~Wadena Tornado~

Wadena police department

Wadena county sheriff’s office

Law enforcement response day 1
Law Enforcement ResponseDay 1

~Conducted search and rescue in the immediate aftermath of the tornado

~Extricated people from damaged homes

~Rendered aid until ambulance personnel arrived

~Marked hazards and called in to utility companies for downed power lines, natural gas leaks, etc.

~Blocked off the affected area using road guards and barricades

Law enforcement response following days
Law Enforcement Response~Following Days

~Established a field command center to brief hundreds officers from 46 agencies to coordinate traffic control and patrol in the affected area using squads, four wheelers and foot patrol

~Coordinated with the street department to set up truck routes to remove 1800+ loads of debris from the affected area

Law enforcement response following days cont
Law Enforcement Response ~Following Days (cont.)

~Coordinated with the National Guard and area Fire Departments to set up check points to only allow permitted people in the disaster area

~Patrolled the affected area making several arrests ranging from looters and scam artists to drug dealers

~Maintained traffic flow with the help of Mounted Posse Members

~Secured the Wadena-Deer Creek High School and Wadena Community Center

Law enforcement response following days cont1
Law Enforcement Response ~Following Days (cont.)

~Responded to medical calls and assisted the ambulance when needed

~Established a truck staging area at the softball complex so homeowners could remove property from affected area

~Established a staging area for over flow parking for volunteers

Fire department
Fire Department

~38 outside fire departments assisted the Wadena Fire Department

~Conducted search and rescue in the immediate hours after the tornado

~Responded to chemical spills/gas leaks and downed power lines in the affected areas

~Conducted door to door checks of residences assuring everyone made it out safely and was accounted for

Fire department cont
Fire Department(cont.)

~Provided extra security in the affected areas

~Assisted with escorting residents into the affected areas to gather belongings and check on pets, etc.

~Responded to one fire call one week after the tornado involving gas and electric crews.

Tri county hospital1
Tri-County Hospital

~EMS initially transported 16 patients

~Tri-County EMS had contact with 32 additional patients in the first week

~Tri-County Hospital treated 69 patients in the first 72 hours

~By hour three of the disaster; there was a total of 22 ground assets, four helicopters, and one fixed wing air asset.

Tri county hospital cont
Tri-County Hospitalcont.

~Tri-County EMS cancelled 8 additional ground assets that were enroute to assist

~Two hours and thirty minutes after the disaster- Tri-County EMS started releasing extra medical personnel who assisted

Damage assessment
Damage Assessment

~Structures Damaged

-335 single and multi residences damaged

-38 commercial buildings damaged

~Structures Destroyed

-86 single and 8 multi residences destroyed

-32 commercial building destroyed

Lessons learned what worked and what didn t
Lessons LearnedWhat worked and what didn't…


-Cell phone use- towers were down which made communication difficult

-Overwhelmed phone lines in dispatch

-ALL fulltime Dispatchers/Jailers assisted during tornado- very beneficial

-800 MHz would have made communication easier

-WPS- Verizon= $10/phone ~GETS card- contact your wireless provider

-WPS and GETS cards give you priority on the cell towers

Lessons learned cont
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Law Enforcement

-Maps are key- County/City/Utilities

-Identify crucial damaged areas

-Develop quadrants based off of damage assessments

-Quadrants- assign a local officer with firemen and out of jurisdiction officers

- Issue permits in general location- have that location set up for PERMITS ONLY to avoid chaos

Lessons learned cont1
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Law Enforcement (cont.)

-Fire Assistance and Support Team (FAST), HSEM and IMT were all a great help

-Incident Action Plan (IAP) assisted Law Enforcement in planning out each days goals

-Public Meetings are essential- have on a daily basis in the same location

Lessons learned cont2
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Patrol/Command Staff

-Traffic Control is vital

-Any officers working disaster duty needs to check in and get assigned to designated areas- helps with organization

-Make sure officers get breaks on a regular basis

-Use statewide channel

-Utilize National Guard to set up a perimeter

-Once quadrants become open to public- set a curfew to have areas shut down for security purposes

Lessons learned cont3
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Fire Department

-Worked well in assisting with search and rescue

-Utilize Fire Departments in traffic control and security

-Make sure you have a channel to communicate with them

Lessons learned cont4
Lessons Learned(cont.)


-Our medical personnel suffered from communication issues

-Make sure to have a common channel to communicate with all on

-Make sure staging area is a common area that is easily found

-Set up various aid stations around the disaster area

Lessons learned cont5
Lessons Learned(cont.)

-Resource Officers/Logistics

-Resource list is necessary for smooth operation

-Have designated area set up for EOC only

-Communication is a MUST between all depts.

-Have a designated line for OUTGOING phone calls only

-Document everything from start to finish and save ALL notes even if they are on scratch paper

-Put the date and time on all notes

Lessons learned cont6
Lessons Learned(cont.)

-Resource Officers/Logistics (cont.)

-Establish a hotline number for the EOC

-Keep websites updated with all information relating to the disaster

-Attend public meetings to get updated on progress and/or changes

-In charge of preparing daily Incident Action Plan (IAP)

-EOC needs a “runner”- beneficial in assisting other command posts with necessities

Lessons learned cont7
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Public Information Officer

-Received approximately 200 calls daily

-Conducted approximately 25 interviews daily

-Assist in public meetings

-Conducts radio interviews

-Make sure to organize a Media area to keep them “contained”

-Do a press release immediately following any disaster

-Hold an emergency meeting with all dept heads

Lessons learned cont8
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Public Information Officer (cont.)

-Keep communication between elected officials and emergency management

-”Wadena Today” was a daily news letter handed out which consisted of information and updates

-Vendor lists are a must

-Assign one person to approve spending to eliminate confusion

Lessons learned cont9
Lessons Learned(cont.)


-Wadena had 2931 registered volunteers

-288 work orders were completed

-Designate a volunteer hotline

-Have all volunteers stage in one area to get assigned

-Set working hours- start and return times

-Ages 15+ only allowed to work

-Under 18- need permission slip from parent

- Wrist bands to track volunteers

Lessons learned cont10
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Volunteers (cont.)

-Have liability waivers

-Make sure volunteers have appropriate clothing to work in

-Turn in work orders at the end of each day

-Have a designated Volunteer EOC

-HAM radio operators beneficial

-Provide food and water to volunteers

-Shuttle by bus to work areas

-MIFC assisted (MN Interagency Fire Center) (DNR)

Lessons learned cont11
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Volunteers (cont.)

-Church groups, MNVOAD, other volunteer groups beneficial

-Assign leaders- make everyone aware of WHO that is

-Volunteer EOC security

-Photo/Video record operations

-Make sure to have a designated area large enough for parking

-Debrief each day

-Fax/Printer/Copier needed at Volunteer staging

Lessons learned cont12
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Minnesota State Patrol

-Set up perimeter

-Mobile EOC available if needed- also send dispatchers along with EOC

-Air assets available

-Video capability- Search & Rescue, damage assessments, etc

-Assist with traffic control

-Set up route for debris removal

-Request assistance via State Duty Officer

Lessons learned cont13
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Public Works

-Assist in demolition and rebuilding

-Debris removal management

-1800+ loads of trees removed from tornado

-Crews from all over the area assisted with debris removal and power restoration

-Must have communication between EOC and City Hall/City Offices

-Contacted building inspectors- categorized each damaged structure

-Wadena City has issued 60+ demolition permits

Lessons learned cont14
Lessons Learned(cont.)

~Additional Ideas

-Needs for EOC- white boards, dry erase markers, erasers, paper trays, highlighters, tape, staplers, paper, file folders, scissors, 3 ring binders, post-its, pencils, pens, calendar, laptop and maps.

-Food for EOC staff- need all day- keep close to EOC

-Utilize Posse members in assisting where ever needed

-Make guidelines clear for contactors, appraisers, home owners and land lords

-Keep public OUT of all EOC areas