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Tornadoes in west central Minnesota add to wet weather woes

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Tornadoes touched down near Benson, Minnesota, this evening KSTP reports.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries caused by the tornadoes in the west central part of the state. Meteorologists say another storm near Alexandria is capable of producing a tornado.

KSTP's Dave Dahl says the threat of tornadoes will continue in that area through 8 p.m.

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A tornado warning for Pope County and southern Douglas County was allowed to expire at 5:45. Just before then meteorologist Jerrid Sebesta tweeted that nine touchdowns had been reported.

More storms were heading toward the Twin Cities and could drop another inch or two of rain on an area that's already endured the wettest June 19th on record.

KSTP says Chanhassen reported 1,000 customers of Xcel Energy were without power. Xcel's map of power outages showed Montevideo, New Prague, and several Twin Cities suburbs were without electricity at times during the evening.

Many roads around the state have been closed due to flooding or mudslides and the state Department of Public Safety is urging no unnecessary travel in the Twin Cities area this evening.

Before the tornadoes were reported Gov. Mark Dayton had declared a state of emergency in 35 counties across a wide swath of Minnesota. Dayton also deployed National Guard members to Koochiching County to help with flood control in International Falls and along the Rainy River.

The forecast calls for a respite from the rain on Friday but a flood warning for south central Minnesota continues through 7 p.m. Friday.

A day of drying out might help farmers in the region salvage crops that were submerged by storms earlier this week.

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