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Severe storms knock out power to thousands; heat and more storms in forecast for Saturday

Jul 18, 2020 07:15AM ● By Editor
Minnesota Power Outage map as of Saturday morning.  Source: MNpower.com

By Andrew Krueger of Minnesota Public Radio News - July 18, 2020

A line of severe storms swept across Minnesota late Friday into early Saturday, bringing damaging winds that knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses.

Xcel Energy reported more than 20,000 customers without power early Saturday in its Minnesota service area — with most of those outages in the Twin Cities, where the National Weather Service reported wind gusts of close to 60 mph. That number had dropped to less than 12,000 as of 6:40 a.m. as crews worked to repair the downed lines.

Winds were estimated at up to 80 mph at times on Friday evening as the storms barreled across northern Minnesota, where several thousand homes and businesses lost power. The area from Park Rapids east toward Akeley, Hackensack and Longville was among the hardest-hit locations.

The storms also brought some hail and torrential rain, with street flooding reported overnight in Brainerd. And there were several tornado warnings after rotation was spotted on radar — but no immediate reports of confirmed tornado touchdowns.

In the wake of the storms, a dangerously hot, humid day is in the forecast for much of Minnesota for Saturday.

An excessive heat warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday from the Twin Cities southwest toward Mankato, Marshall and Worthington. The temperature and humidity may combine for a heat index near 110 degrees.

Heat advisories are in effect for the rest of southern Minnesota, for a heat index up to about 105 degrees. 

And another round of strong, possibly severe, thunderstorms is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon and evening across the state — especially central and southern Minnesota.

Find forecast updates on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.

If severe storms develop, track the latest watches and warnings on MPR’s severe weather live blog.

Wind damage

Other storm reports from across Minnesota, relayed by the National Weather Service late Friday and early Saturday, included:

  • Strong winds destroyed football field bleachers and damaged grain bins in Argyle

  • Strong winds moved farm equipment and several 800-pound bales of hay near Milaca

  • Numerous trees and power lines down across Isanti and Chisago counties, including the Stanchfield and Rush City areas

  • Large trees were reported snapped off and blocking a road west of Bemidji

  • Trees were uprooted in Thief River Falls

  • Trees and power lines reported down across Cass and Crow Wing counties

  • A large tree limb fell and damaged a car in Marshall

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