Most people should have power back on by midnight Sunday, Xcel Energy says


Most Minnesotans who have been without power since severe storms rolled through the metro area this weekend should have power restored by midnight Sunday, Xcel Energy says.

The line of thunderstorms hit Minnesota and Wisconsin late Friday night, bringing frequent lightning, heaving rain and damaging winds, which knocked out power to about 240,000 customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, Xcel Energy notes.

In an update Sunday morning, the power company said there are still about 45,000 customers without service in the metro area, but it says 95 percent of customers should get their power back by midnight Sunday. However, Xcel says those in the "hardest hit" areas might not see the lights back on until Monday.

Xcel didn't expand on where the "hardest hit" areas are. See the power outage map here.

The company says it has more than 650 employees and contractors working 16-hour shifts until power is restored to all customers. Xcel called in crews from five other states to assist in the power restoration efforts.

Cleanup continues

The buzz of chainsaws echoed across the Twin Cities this weekend after storms plowed through the area.

Lightning strikes caused house fires in Bloomington and Minneapolis, FOX 9 reports, strong winds topping 60 mph downed trees and power lines and flipped boats in the metro area, and an EF-1 tornado caused damage in Carver County,

The tornado, which had wind speeds of around 105 mph, touched down near Watertown, the National Weather Service confirmed.

LuceLine Orchard in Watertown suffered significant crop loss from Friday's storm, the company posted on Facebook. Of the 10,000 apple trees on the orchard, more than half were destroyed, Terri Traen, a radio personality on KQRS who also runs the orchard, wrote on Facebook.

Traen told KARE 11 that she was outside until about 10:30 p.m. Friday tying up apple trees to help prevent damage to the crop, noting the storm damage was worst than they had expected.

More than 100 volunteers – many of them strangers – turned out to help cleanup on the orchard Saturday, the Star Tribune reports.

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