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Questions sprout after storms uproot trees

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As cleanup efforts continue several days after damaging storms pummeled the Twin Cities metro area and caused widespread damage and record power outages, questions are swirling about how to lessen the damage in future severe weather.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the city ought to consider a variety of measures, such as planting different species of trees, constructing city sidewalks in new ways, securing power lines in better ways, or burying power lines – a costly alternative, the Star Tribune reports. Burying lines could double electricity bills, one Xcel representative told the newspaper.

WCCO also examined the pros and cons of burying power lines. Lines are buried in most new residential construction in Minnesota, WCCO notes, but the costs are high and the job would be complex in older neighborhoods. Each house presents its own challenges – driveways, patios, decks and sprinkler systems, WCCO reports.

Crews in Minneapolis have removed about 800 trees in an effort to clear streets, and many more are awaiting removal, the Star Tribune reports. Downed trees are a big reason the electricity went out to more than 500,000 homes and businesses during the weekend storms. By Tuesday, there were still about 23,000 without power, FOX 9 reported.

KARE 11 talked to residents in a Shoreview neighborhood who were trapped on their street by a downed power pole for three days.

The Star Tribune also produced a video, in which residents say they have reasons to be grateful, despite mourning the loss of beautiful trees that shaded their neighborhoods.

In St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman said more than 2,000 public trees were damaged and about one-quarter of those fell completely – 26 toppled onto houses, the Pioneer Press reports. The Pioneer Press talks with Karl Walz, whose family on Monday had been living in darkness for four days in Minneapolis' Longfellow neighborhood.

The newspaper also talks with a dismayed Longfellow residents Kimberly and Nick Cole, who spent 14 months putting an addition onto their home. The addition was completed just last month, and a tree limb fell through the roof.

Meanwhile, more storms are expected Tuesday afternoon, KSTP reports.

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