At least three houses were hit by lightning and two set ablaze in the wake of heavy thunderstorms that swept across Minnesota on Saturday.
Flash flooding was also reported in many areas, and the western suburbs of the Twin Cities were especially hard hit. Areas near St. Cloud received 5 to 8 inches of rain. In Stearns County, water was reported flowing over County Road 4 near the Sauk River.
Fire crews in Ham Lake were called to a home about 3 p.m. that was hit by lightning and caught fire in the 2300 block of 145th Lane NE., officials said.
At about the same time, a house in the 18000 block of Vermillion Street E. in East Bethel was also hit by lightning. The house was damaged, and fire crews investigated a suspicious smell.
A bit later in Plymouth, a house in the 4900 block of Rosewood Lane was struck by lightning and also caught fire.
There were no injuries reported in the blazes.
In Fergus Falls, the National Weather Service reported water high enough to cover the hoods of cars in low-lying areas.
At William O’Brien State Park in Marine on St. Croix, the state Department of Natural Resources reported that the St. Croix River along the park was high and the boat launch area was totally underwater. It warned canoeists and kayakers to use extreme caution.