Storms, hail, high winds lash central Minnesota

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Thunderstorms bringing hail and high winds were whipping their way across central and northern Minnesota Thursday morning.

Wind damage and toppled trees were reported in Mille Lacs County and other areas of central Minnesota. A wind gust was measured at 79 mph in Staples, the National Weather Service says.

KSTP's Jonathan Yuhas says 69- to 79-mph winds have knocked down trees from Staples to Brainerd this morning. BringMeTheNews reader Jeremy Ryder took this shot of storm damage in Brainerd:

Power and water outages were reported in the area:

Check out this hail in New York Mills, Minnesota, in Otter Tail County (that's a cue ball for comparison). Geoffrey Yates on Twitter said this fell between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.:

Wind ripped off a roof in Hewitt, in Todd County south of Wadena, the Weather Channel reports:

Heavy rainfall caused street flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead area Thursday morning, Valley News Live reported. Moorhead got 1.6 inches of rain early Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

Heavy rain was also falling in Wadena County in central Minnesota early Thursday, where a flood warning is in effect until 4 p.m. Flash flood warnings were in effect early Thursday for portions of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties.

Two tornado warnings, in Otter Tail and Wadena counties, expired at 5:30 a.m., WCCO reported.

Severe thunderstorm warning areas early Thursday included:

In the metro Thursday, expect spotty thunder and muggy air, with highs in the mid-80s and dew points near a very sticky 70, KARE 11 reports. Later Thursday, a cool front is expected, and storms could develop again, the station says, with a chance of severe weather highest in southeast and northeast Minnesota and Wisconsin.

St. Cloud hit hard

The rain fell hard and fast on central Minnesota Wednesday, flooding streets in St. Cloud and Glenwood and pounding orchards and farm fields with hail.

Hundreds of acres of crops were damaged, including metro-bound apples, zucchini and pumpkins, the Star Tribune reports.

The weather service said the 2.7 inches of rain that fell on St. Cloud Wednesday nearly doubled the Granite City's record for rainiest September 3rd.

And that rain came not in the form of an all-day soaker, but in an hour-long torrent.

StormChasingVideo.com posted images of the street flooding that occurred in St. Cloud and further west in Pope County.

Later in the evening, the weather service reported Little Falls was seeing rain fall at the rate of two inches per hour.

Crop damage

In some areas hail accompanied the storms. In Wright County WCCO says half-dollar sized hail was 2 to 3 inches deep in Waverly, where it all but destroyed an apple orchard.

Paul Nelson, whose father-in-law owns Untiedt's Vegetable Farm, tells the Star Tribune it was the nastiest hail storm he'd ever seen – and he hopes he never sees another like it. Nelson told the newspaper this year's apple crop is beautiful.“Or, it was beautiful,” he said. “The apples got all beat up. One side had about 30 holes in them. The other side looked OK."

Farther north, Swanville, which straddles Morrison and Todd Counties, was also pounded with hail for about five minutes.

Cooler days ahead

KSTP.com reports Thursday is likely bring a muggy high of 86 degrees to the Twin Cites, but on Friday and Saturday the mercury will barely hit 70.

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At MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner says we should expect a spectacular fall weekend with a "delightfully cool air mass" heading into Minnesota.

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