Violent SE Minn. storm knocks out power, starts fires

A thunderstorm shook southeastern Minnesota early Wednesday morning that whipped up large hail and 60- to 75-mph winds in some areas and littered streets with debris. Lightning sparked at least one house fire in Rochester, where utility crews scrambled to restore power amid scattered outages.
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A thunderstorm packing high winds and hail and sparked fires shook the southeastern part of the state early Wednesday morning.

The storm produced wind gusts up to 75 mph, as well as large hail in Winona County, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported. Nearly 5,000 people were without power very early Wednesday, although it had been restored to many by mid-morning the paper reported.

The storm also knocked down a 440-foot TV tower.

Some of the damage included a house fire believed to have been sparked by lightning, a roof damaged by a tree and power outages that affected operations at the nursing care facility at Assisi Heights, KAAL reported. KAAL noted that transformer explosions ignited trees and fire crews responded to a dozen calls about downed wires.

KTTC has video of the storm winds and more on the house fire:

KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

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