A tornado has left an almost kilometre-wide path of destruction in northwestern Minnesota, the U.S. National Weather Service said Friday.

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Frank Homer, chief deputy sheriff of Hubbard County, works his way through the remains of a home that was destroyed by a tornado on Pickerel Lake, outside of Emmaville, Minn. ((AP/the Forum/Bruce Crummy))

No injuries have been reported in the town of Park Rapids, but local officials say there is extensive roof damage and cars were reported to be sitting in a nearby ditch.

A resident from nearby Emmaville said all the trees in his yard were uprooted and his mobile home was damaged. A turkey farm near Blueberry Lake was destroyed, a small housing development suffered minor damage and many trees were downed throughout the area.

Tornado damage has also been reported in the town of Menahga, south of Park Rapids. No details of the damage were available.

Forecasters warned Friday's weather could be packed with strong storms.

Runoff from heavy rain early Friday forced the evacuation of about a dozen homes in Cambridge, in central Iowa. Residents fled at about 3 a.m. local time and no injuries were reported.

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A circus elephant wanders through Gloria and Melvin Folkers' backyard in WaKeeney, Kan., on Thursday. The elephant was one of two that escaped a travelling circus after being spooked by a tornado. ((Gloria Folkers/Associated Press))

"The ground is just fully saturated. The runoff from the community just all comes to that part of town. This is probably the worst it's ever been," said Lori Morrissey, the emergency management co-ordinator for Story County.

Morrissey said more than five centimetres of rain fell in storms that began Thursday night in the region.

At least four tornadoes touched down in Kansas Thursday, with others reported in Nebraska and Missouri. Meanwhile, a funnel cloud was reported in Colorado.

One of the Kansas tornados destroyed a house and several other buildings in central Clay County, and toppled trees and power lines.

The twisters spooked a pair of circus elephants that escaped their pen and roamed the town of WaKeeney, Kan. One of the elephants was coaxed into a truck, while the second was tranquilized in the backyard of a home.

Both were returned to the circus.

With files from the Associated Press