Storms damage central Minnesota

Published 10:24 am Friday, August 5, 2016

BRAINERD — Severe thunderstorms that pushed through parts of Minnesota closed roads, cut power, delayed a county fair opening and toppled a huge Babe the Blue Ox statue at Paul Bunyan Land.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says emergency crews are working to open roads closed by falling trees and branches and restore power.

The Crow Wing County Fair organizers delayed Thursday’s opening until the afternoon because the fairgrounds sustained damage. At Paul Bunyan Land at This Old Farm near Brainerd, strong winds pushed over a 6,000-pound, 19-foot-tall statue of Babe the Blue Ox.

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One of the park’s owners, Lois Moon, says Babe hadn’t moved an inch in 13 years — until now. The statue was later back on its feet.

Xcel Energy says fewer than 100 customers were still without power in the Twin Cities by late afternoon.