ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Severe storms knock out power to thousands in Twin Cities

ST. PAUL -- Severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Minnesota early Tuesday, bringing hail and winds that toppled trees and power lines - and more severe weather is possible today.

Storm damage
A tree uprooted by strong winds during a thunderstorm early Tuesday morning, June 19, 2012, crushed a car parked on Galvin Avenue in West St. Paul. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Jason A. Cook)

ST. PAUL -- Severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Minnesota early Tuesday, bringing hail and winds that toppled trees and power lines - and more severe weather is possible today.

In the morning storm's wake, more than 36,000 Xcel Energy customers were without power at 10 a.m., most of them on the east side of the Twin Cities metro area.

Xcel Energy spokeswoman Patti Nystuen said restoration times are uncertain because of the widespread power outages. Many outages are related to downed trees, she said.

Crews were working to restore power Tuesday morning, even as the threat of more storms was looming.

"We've sort of gotten the one-two punch with storms the last couple days," Nystuen said. "But our crews are out there and they're working hard."

ADVERTISEMENT

The company said on its website it would restore service to the vast majority of customers by 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Power outages affected more than 10,000 of Dakota Electric's customers Tuesday morning, but that number had been reduced to about 3,000 by 10 a.m.

Power should be restored to a majority of those customers by nightfall, but it could take 24 to 48 hours to restore power to everyone, the company said.

"Our goal is to restore power quickly and safely to everyone," said Dakota Electric spokesperson Joe Miller. "We thank everyone for their patience."

The Stillwater Lift Bridge was stuck in the down position following a power outage this morning, said Kevin Gutknecht, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Motorists could travel over the bridge, but it could not be raised for river traffic.

Winds around the metro and in western Wisconsin ranged from about 40 to 60 mph, according to a storm report from the National Weather Service. A measurement at the St. Paul downtown airport showed 64 mph winds, and reports from Scott County showed winds of 80 mph or more.

The weather service also reported trees and power lines down, with heavy damage in Dakota and Scott counties. One spotter reported 14 power poles down and snapped in half on Pilot Knob Road in Apple Valley. Others reported 30-foot trees down in Rosemount and Eagan.

Strong winds knocked down trees and branches and power lines throughout large areas of Hastings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Crews from the public works, parks and police and fire departments are "out in force with the priority to get the roads open to traffic," Hastings officials said.

For now, all debris will be pushed to the side of the road or in the boulevard areas. City crews will haul away debris; however, it may take several days for them to come by and remove it.

Hail ranging from dime to ping-pong ball size was seen in many areas, according to the weather service.

The weather service predicts temperatures Tuesday in the Twin Cities could top 90 degrees, with clouds breaking for periods of sunny weather.

In the Northland, severe storms are possible later today, and some of those storms may bring very heavy rain. A flash flood watch is in effect for the Twin Ports and most of Northeastern Minnesota today and Wednesday.

Storm damage
A crushed car and a line of downed power lines are seen on Pilot Knob Road and County Road 42 in Apple Valley, Minn., after high winds caused damage and power outages throughout the Twin Cities metro area, Tuesday morning, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Doman)

Related Topics: WEATHER
What To Read Next
An assistance package should provide $200,000 to complete the renovation of the neighboring building in the Spirit Valley neighborhood.
Bankruptcy information gathered from cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Duluth.
Recently sold properties from St. Louis County.
Bankruptcy information gathered from cases filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Duluth.