Severe storms rip through Minnesota, downing trees and knocking out power


Severe storms ripped through Minnesota Sunday night, bringing strong winds, lots of lightning and heavy downpours across the state.

There were also reports of four unconfirmed tornadoes touching down in west-central Minnesota, including in Wilkin, Otter Tail and Grant counties, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center notes.

By Monday morning, a trail of damage was reported from Fargo, North Dakota, through the Brainerd Lakes area down Interstate 94 into the metro, MPR News reports.

The map at left shows the storm damage reports across the state in the past 24 hours. The majority of central Minnesota experienced damage caused by high winds (marked with an orange W on the map), while there were also reports of funnel clouds, flooding and hail across the state.

Wind gusts in some areas neared 80 mph, according to trained weather spotters who provide data to the National Weather Service.

So far, no injuries have been reported from the storms.

The Brainerd Lakes area seems to have been the hardest hit, with most damage caused by high winds. There were reports of numerous downed trees, mangled docks and damage to homes, the Brainerd Dispatch notes.

Bleachers at the Brainerd International Raceway were turned into a pile of twisted metal. A popular area resort – Madden's on Gull Lake – was forced to close its golf courses due to storm damage, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Site so they could begin removing the "hundreds" of downed trees.

Downed trees throughout the area made some roads and highways impassable into Monday afternoon.

One family staying at a cabin on Rock Lake in Pillager, located in Cass County, told BringMeTheNews 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.

Thousands remained without power Monday as crews worked to cleanup following the storm.

Brainerd Public Utilities posted on its Facebook page Monday morning saying:

"After a very busy night of restoring power and clean up, main power has been restored, there are pockets that have not been restored, trees in personal yards, low lines etc. that the crews will be working on through the days."

Lightning sparks house fires

By the time the line of storms reached the Twin Cities, they had lost some strength, but continuous bolts of lightning lit up the night sky for hours, MPR News says.

The metro wasn't spared completely: Lightning reportedly caused house fires in the metro, including at a duplex in Lakeville, the Star Tribune reports.

Heavy rains also caused dirt and debris to pile up on part of southbound Interstate 35E at Highway 36, which slowed traffic for the Monday morning commute, the paper says.

Here's a look at some of the damage across the state:

After widespread thunderstorms Sunday and overnight into Monday, most of the state will get a break with slightly cooler temperatures. However, warm and humid conditions will return in the afternoon to south and central Minnesota, the National Weather Service says.

This could produce scattered thunderstorms across northern and central Minnesota Monday afternoon and evening.

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