Thousands still without power after Minn. storms

Published 9:35 am Thursday, July 7, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Hundreds of utility crews restored power Wednesday to tens of thousands of customers who lost service when powerful storms rolled through southern Minnesota, toppling power lines and trees and causing flash flooding and damage from golf ball-sized hail.

But by 6 p.m., Xcel Energy reported that around 38,000 customers were still without power, down from about 130,000 who lost power in Tuesday night’s storms. Most of those were in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, but the swath extended from St. Cloud in central Minnesota into western Wisconsin. Xcel said that due to the extent of the damage, it didn’t have an estimate on when service would be fully restored.

The storms produced winds of up to 80 mph, ripping siding off homes in St. Michael and Prior Lake and knocking over large trees, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado touched down near Appleton in western Minnesota, the weather service reported. It also confirmed that a tornado touched down east of Dennison in southeastern Minnesota around 8 p.m. Tuesday, and another touched down about a half-hour later near Lake City.

Email newsletter signup

The storms also damaged U.S. Bank Stadium as they raced through downtown Minneapolis. More than a dozen black zinc exterior panels came loose. Minnesota Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the team was working with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on a permanent fix.

Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen noted that this wasn’t the first time that panels have come loose, and the stadium has thousands of them. The contractor will repair them at no cost to taxpayers, she said.