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High winds blow multiple semis off road Thursday

Wind gusts that occasionally reached the 60-mph range caused havoc across southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa on Thursday, including multiple reports of semis being blown off roads.

A Port Richey, Florida man was transported to a regional hospital following a crash Thursday morning along U.S. 71 north of Windom. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2016 International semi tractor and trailer operated by Rashod Devon Brown, 32, was northbound when powerful winds blew the semi over and onto its side. Brown was transported to Windom Area Health with non-life-threatening injuries.

Another semi was reportedly blown off the road shortly before 10 a.m.; that incident also took place on U.S. 71, nearly two miles south of the Jackson-Cottonwood County line and near the turn-off to Fish Lake. No injuries were reported.

Additionally, the Minnesota State Patrol investigated a report of another semi blowing over at 12:20 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 71 in Cottonwood County's Dale Township. A 2020 Volvo Semi Tractor operated by Yolanda Marie Qualls, 50, of Huron, S.D. was southbound when strong crosswinds blew the semi over and onto its side. Qualls was also taken to Windom Area Health with non-life-threatening injuries.

In northwest Iowa, a boat hoist being pulled southbound on U.S. 71 just south of Okoboji was flipped over by the high winds. That incident took place at approximately 8 a.m.

According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, a total of 15 wind advisories (including Thursday’s) have already been issued during the first three and a half months of 2022. That compares to a total of 20 for all of last year. As recently as 2018, a total of just seven wind advisories were issued.

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