Trees, power lines downed as storms with high winds move through Minnesota


A line of severe storms moved through Minnesota Sunday evening, bringing lots of lightning, high winds and brief heavy downpours.

The storms began popping up in northwestern and central Minnesota around 7 p.m. and moved southeast into the northern Twin Cities metro area a few hours later.

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The Brainerd Lakes/Baxter area seems to have been the hardest hit, with most damage caused by high winds. Several reports of downed trees and power lines have come in.

Power outages were reported in Cass and Crow Wing counties, including parts of Baxter, Brainerd and Staples, according to the Brainerd Dispatch. So far, though, no injuries have been reported.

One family staying at a cabin on Rock Lake in Pillager told Bring Me The News several trees on the property were blown down, their diving dock and paddle boat are missing, and a power line is down.

Local fire department officials stopped by to check on their welfare, and nobody was injured. But the family said they can't leave the cabin because the roads have been blocked by many downed trees.

In addition to the warm temperatures, high humidity made for oppressive conditions Sunday.

Temperatures topped out near 90 degrees for much of the state, while the heat index made it feel more like 100 degrees across parts of the state.

That prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory for much of the area – including the Twin Cities – that was in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday.

At one point Sunday evening, about 1,100 households in the west metro area were without power. The Wright-Hennepin Power Cooperative described the outages as "intermittent," and said they were due to excess demand from the hot weather.

Hottest time of the year

It comes as no surprise that the Twin Cities would be getting some of the hottest weather of the year now – July 11-19 is historically the hottest time of year, and contains a half-dozen all-time heat records for the metro, FOX 9 reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that during extremely hot and humid weather, our bodies ability to cool itself is challenged and the risk for heat-related illnesses rises.

Here are some tips to prevent heat-related deaths. The Humane Society also has tips on how to keep pets safe in the heat.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says heat-related illness accounted for 49 deaths in Minnesota from 2000-2013, with 19 of those deaths occurring in 2001. For those years, the month of July has had the highest number of heat-related deaths, with 25.

MDH notes that deaths directly related to heat are not common in Minnesota and often are unidentified, which leads to an underestimation of heat-related deaths.

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