Friday storms rip through Hudson, severely damaging homes and businesses |

Friday storms rip through Hudson, severely damaging homes and businesses

Alex Jokich
Updated: September 17, 2021 06:12 PM
Created: September 17, 2021 05:56 PM

Hudson Public Library suffered extensive damage from severe storms that swept through Minnesota and Wisconsin early Friday morning.

"The winds took off the roof off a bathhouse across the street and sent it about 200 yards airborne, slamming into the side of our public library, smashing and destroying the front side of it," said Gail Pronschinske, with the city's public works department.

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew at the scene said parts of the building were battered, with large windows shattered and wood splintered along the exterior.

"The wall is literally buckled in. There are glass shards everywhere," Library Director Shelley Tougas said. "The pandemic I thought was probably the most difficult part of my library career, but today is right up there."

Tougas said the library will remain closed for at least a few days in order for intensive repairs to begin. She said all of the books also need to be checked for broken glass before they can reopen.

"[The damage] is way more widespread in our downtown historic area, so it's devastating," Pronschinske said.

The National Weather Service said Hudson was likely hit by straight-line winds that stretched from the Twin Cities into Wisconsin, with wind gusts in some areas clocking in at 64 miles per hour.

Public works crews in Hudson removed large trees from the roadways, covering at least a dozen city blocks Friday.

Uprooted trees were strewn throughout Hudson, with some crashing down on homes and garages.

"It just looks like a forest in my house with all the downed trees," said Elizabeth Taylor, who woke up around 3 a.m. to the sound of sirens.

Many people spent all day Friday trying to clean up from the storm, including children who had school canceled due to widespread power outages.

"I keep hearing chainsaws. There's some down there and down there," said 5-year-old Amia Letourneau, who cleared downed branches with her mom for several hours. "It's very hard to carry these things! I'm very scratched up."

The St. Croix County emergency manager said the city of Hudson declared a state of emergency Friday.

As of Friday evening, there have been no injuries reported in the city.

The storms also caused damage in the south Twin Cities metro, and two tornadoes were confirmed as of Friday afternoon.

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