UPDATE: Area in Clean-Up Mode After Wind Storm Blows Through [PHOTOS, VIDEO]
UNDATED – Our first major storm of the summer rumbled across much of the area overnight.
The Stearns County Dispatch says they got a lot of calls overnight for everything from downed power lines to downed trees.
Stearns County Emergency Management Director Erin Hausauer says they dealt with a lot of calls, especially in the Rockville area and St. Cloud, but the damage affected almost every town in the county.
St. Cloud Public Works Director Jerry Kaeter says they saw damage pretty much throughout the city.
St. Cloud mayor Dave Kleis says the city compost site will be open today for storm clean-up. The compost site from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. today (Friday), from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, and from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. It’s open to all city residents, regardless of whether you have a compost sticker or not.
The City of Sauk Rapids is opening its compost site today, due to the storm damage. City officials say the site is very muddy so you are to leave brush near the brush pile.
For those residents who live within the city limits of Sartell, the compost site will be opening early at 1:00 p.m. today. It will be open at its regular time from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Because of the storm, the city has lifted its requirement of having a compost sticker for today and tomorrow.
St. Joseph’s composite site is open until 7:00 p.m. tonight (Friday), and tomorrow from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The St. Joseph compost site still requires a compost sticker to use this weekend.
Rockville city officials are asking residents to stay out of the downtown area today (Friday), due to storm damage. There are fallen trees and power lines throughout the town. They also ask you to use caution when cleaning-up your own yard. If you need help, or have questions, call the Rockville Fire Hall at 251-072.
The St. Cloud VA Medical Center is open today and are operating a routine schedule, despite some minor storm damage. The VA is operating on emergency back-up generators, due to a loss of power. Some trees were blown down, but the roads have been cleared of debris.
The National Weather Service says wind speeds in excess of 70 miles an hour were reported during the height of the storm.
Large hail was also reported.
There was also some street flooding, due to the heavy rain that fell overnight – we recorded just over two inches of rain overnight.
The Stearns Electric Association had about 3,000 members without power at the peak of the outage. The outages were basically in a swath 20 miles on both sides of Interstate 94 from one end of Stearns County to the other. They are hoping to restore power to most customers by sometime this afternoon.
East Central Energy says they have about 2,000 members without power yet, mostly in Benton and Mille Lacs Counties. Crews are out working to restore power, but they say it may take all day to restore power to all of their customers. They remind you to stay clear of downed power lines.
Xcel Energy officials say they also have a number of homes without power throughout the area.
From the Associated Press:
Severe thunderstorms rolling through central Minnesota have caused flash flooding, uprooted trees and knocked out power to thousands of people. Lightning strikes also sparked several fires.
The storm early Friday packed hail, violent winds and heavy rains. The National Weather Service says some areas in west-central Minnesota got 4 to 5 inches of rain in two to three hours.
Meteorologists say Eagan got nickel-sized hail and Burnsville had hail the size of an M&M.
Lightning sparked fires at a home in Minnetonka and a day care in St. Cloud. No injuries were reported.
Meteorologist Chris Franks says streets got flooded in Morris, Glenwood and Starbuck because storm drains just couldn’t handle the volume.
Xcel Energy crews are working to restore power to about 131,000 residents.
Here’s a look at some storm damage from across the metro area from WJON’s Ashli Gerdes.
Here’s some video of the damage, courtesy of Doug Kiesling at StormChasingVideo.com.
Take a look at the moment a transformer blows, sending a neighborhood into darkness.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The title says ‘lightning strike’, but it appears to be only the transformer popping. In any case, it’s still pretty dramatic.)