Clarks Grove, MN (KROC-AM News) - The National Weather Service has confirmed the extensive storm damage that occurred in Freeborn and Sherburne Counties on Monday was caused by tornadoes.

At last check, an assessment team was still working to determine the strength of the twister that slammed into Clarks Grove, where reports indicate dozens of homes and other buildings were damaged when a line of severe storms moved into the small town about 10 miles north of Albert Lea around 5 PM.

The National Weather Service earlier confirmed a tornado was responsible for the widespread damage that occurred in the Zimmerman area in central Minnesota. That tornado has been rated as an EF-1 with peak winds estimated at 107 miles per hour. The National Weather Service says it was on the ground for close to nine miles and was around 300 yards wide when it was at top strength.

The tornado activity established a new record for the earliest date for a tornado touchdown in Minnesota. The previous record was set in 1968 when a tornado hit St. James on March 18th.

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