Severe storms knock out power, cause flash flooding in Twin Cities

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 21, 2013 - 8:55 PM

Severe storms that rolled through the Twin Cities early Friday morning unleashed violent winds, hail and heavy rains, felling trees, knocking out power and even sparking house fires, authorities said.

More than 80,000 homes are without power across the metro area, according to Xcel Energy.

Winds of 55 miles per hour were reported at Lake Elmo Airport in Washington County and in Eden Prairie. In Buffalo, winds topped out at 73 miles per hour.

Half-inch hail was reported in Burnsville and .88 inch hail in Eagan, the National Weather Service said.

The severe thunderstorm warnings from overnight have expired. Gusty winds and steady rain are continuing in some areas.

Lightning was to blame for a fire that significantly damaged a home in Minnetonka. Firefighters from Minnetonka and five neighboring departments responded to the blaze in the 2700 block of Ashborne Road that was reported about 2:30 a.m. when thunderstorms were in progress.

The homeowner woke up to a lightning strike nearby as did a neighbor. A  neighbor saw flames coming from the home and called for help. The neighbor also got a woman and her dog out of the burning house without injury, said Fire Chief Brent Weldon.

The roof collapsed and the house sustained “significant damage” Weldon said. No firefighters were injured, he said.

Flash flooding on southbound I-35W just south of downtown Minneapolis may have led to an accident in which a vehicle slid under a tanker truck just after 5 a.m.

The vehicle became wedged under the tanker and poked a hole in the truck. Jason Atnry of the Regional Transportation Management Center. said the truck was hauling thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and it is leaking. There is no word of injuries.  The right two lanes are closed.

One area that was particularly hard hit was Golden Valley. Trees and power lines are down and debris littered the neighborhood in the vicinity of Duluth Street and Brunswick Av. N., according to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. 

Numerous power lines were down in  Robbinsdale, according to police scanner chatter.  They are on the 4300 block of Abbott and 4600 block of Drew Av. N. A power pole snapped and is dangling on University Av. and St. Anthony Pkwy.

In Washington County, the sheriff’s office says it responded to a couple house fires and reports of trees down throughout the county. Damage was “widespread” a dispatcher said. Traffic lights were reported out at Valley Creek Road in Woodbury. Power also was knocked out in Bayport, the sheriff’s office said.
 

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