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Otter Tail County tornado reached wind speeds of 170 miles per hour

The National Weather Service said Wednesday's EF-4 tornado was on the ground for 9 miles.
Credit: Richard Lysne
Tornado in Dalton, MN on July 8, 2020

OTTER TAIL COUNTY, Minn. — The National Weather Service (NWS) now says a tornado that hit portions of Grant and Otter Tail Counties on Wednesday hit peak wind speeds of 170 miles per hour.

Meteorologists now rate the tornado as an EF-4, the second-highest level on the Enhanced Fujita scale that's used to classify tornadoes.

According to a report on the National Weather Service website, the tornado first touched down in northern Grant County as a weak EF-0 to EF-1 tornado, but quickly intensified as it crossed into southern Otter Tail County.

"It likely reached maximum EF-4 intensity after it crossed Highway 82 and destroyed a machine shop and yard on the downwind side," the NWS report reads. "It then continued in a northeast direction and reached both maximum width and intensity as it moved into and across a rural homestead along 120th Street and into Blacken Lake."

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office confirmed Seth Nelson, 30, of Battle Lake, was killed when the tornado hit the machine shop. Two other people were injured.

RELATED: Man who died in Otter Tail County tornado was married father of four

The NWS report says the tornado had a 9-mile-long path, and reached 650 yards wide at its maximum. 

The report said the storm that produced this tornado "may have produced one or more additional, but brief, tornadoes along its path" as the system continued to move east.

RELATED: One dead as tornadoes, severe weather hit central Minnesota