Strong winds, heavy rain and large hail battered large portions of the metro area and central Minnesota Tuesday night.

As many as 50,000 customers, most of them in the west metro area, were without power after high winds and lightning led to downed trees and branches on power lines, said Mary Sandok, an Xcel spokeswoman.

Among hardest-hit communities were Eden Prairie, Bloomington, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park and Edina.

By Wednesday morning, crews had knocked that number still without power down to about 11,000.

Reports of 1-inch and 2-inch hail were common as the storms passed over the Twin Cities area Tuesday night. The National Weather Service says trained spotters also reported 3-inch hail near New London and 2.5-inch hail near Morris in western Minnesota.

The Eden Prairie Police Department tweeted a photo of a squad car that lost its rear window due to hail.

Hwy. 77 near the Mall of America was closed briefly due to standing water but by 9:30 p.m. was open to traffic, said Lt. Eric Roeske, a spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol.

JOY POWELL and The ASSOCIATED PRESS