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Power outages persist, cleanup efforts continue following summer storms

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Communities across Minnesota were still picking up the pieces following storms that led to power outages, downed trees and other damage.

A storm that moved through the metro area late Friday night knocked out power for thousands of Minnesotans. Around 240,000 customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin lost power when the storms hit, and as of Sunday morning, around 50,000 customers were still without power – most of them in the Twin Cities metro area, according to Xcel Energy's power outage map.

The company says it has more than 650 employees and contractors working 16-hour shifts until power is restored to all customers. Xcel says it expects to restore service to 95 percent of its customers by the end of the day Sunday, but some of the hardest-hit areas will likely be without power until Monday.

Around 30 Dakota Electric Association customers were still without power Saturday night, the company's 7 p.m. update said, noting it would have all customers back online before Sunday.

Meanwhile, residents of southern Chisago County experienced landline phone outages, KSTP reports.

Crews in Hennepin County have been out since 1:30 a.m. Saturday to remove trees from roads, with county officials tweeting that they are calling in more crews to locate downed trees and assist with cleaning up after the storm.

KARE 11 was on the scene in Burnsville for Saturday's cleanup efforts, where high winds caused a dock, pontoon boat and awning to flip on Crystal Lake.

"There's just mass devastation. It's like a bomb went off here," Steve Jensen, who was helping others in his neighborhood, told the news station.

Confirmed tornado in Watertown

The National Weather Service has confirmed was an EF-1 tornado swept through part of Watertown during the overnight storm.

The extensive damage in the area has prompted Rails to Trails summer festival organizers to call off the final day of the event, WCCO reports.

The parade was canceled because downed power lines and trees would have kept floats from traveling the route.

However, organizers have rescheduled the annual fireworks for Sunday at 10 p.m., according to the event's Facebook page.

Brainerd continues its cleanup

Meanwhile, residents are still cleaning up after storms hit the Brainerd Lakes area a week ago, downing trees and causing damage to many buildings and popular resorts in the area.

Thousands of customers lost power during the July 12 storm. Minnesota Power estimates fewer than 1,000 customers remain without power, and it expects 95 percent of customers will be back online by Sunday night, according to a post on its Facebook page.

Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan toured the area Friday, with Nolan saying damage to public property is in the "millions of dollars," the Brainerd Dispatch says.

Dayton made sure to note that although there's extensive damage, Brainerd is "open for business."

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