Taopi Tornado: One Year Later

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(ABC 6 News) – The night of April 12, 2022 was a night to remember for many in southern Minnesota, but most of all in Taopi.

On that night around 10:40 pm, an EF-2 tornado ripped through Taopi.

According to the National Weather Service, estimated wind speeds topped out around 130 MPH, and the maximum width of the tornado was approximately 475 yards.

Tom Kasel & Jewel Andree lost their house in the tornado. Tom noted how loud it was that night. “You could just hear things started hitting the house. You knew it wasn’t a normal storm.”

The tornado caused significant damage and even destroyed several houses in the small town of less than 100 people.

Among the buildings destroyed were the post office, a local store, and the permanently closed Rusty Rail.

Despite the extensive damage, the recovery process is coming along. Several houses have already been rebuilt, and even have new driveways.

Gary Kasel, Tom’s brother, noted how different the town looks from one year ago. “Oh yeah, definitely Taopi strong for sure. It’s great to see the rebuilding and the people are staying.”

The community has also become more tight-knit as a result of the twister.

Jewel Andree has noticed a difference. “The town is really good, I mean everyone in it. Their all nice, and they all work together.”

There is still construction taking place on a few houses, and there are a few empty lots that do remain untouched.

Damaged trees can still be seen from a year ago.

Donations from surrounding communities and public assistance in removing debris played a huge role in the recovery.

Andree reflects on how the past, but also looks forward to what’s ahead. “You still miss some of the other, older buildings that were there that won’t be back. But, I think it’s gonna look really nice when it’s done.”

While most of the houses have been mostly, if not completely rebuilt in town, what took place that night will stick with residents for the rest of their lives.