DULUTH – Waves climbed nearly two stories high along parts of the North Shore Monday, as gale-force winds whipped up whitecaps on Lake Superior throughout the day.
The storm battered Duluth, knocking down power lines, flooding streets in Canal Park and forcing authorities to block access to the city’s iconic Aerial Lift Bridge for an hour as water levels rose.
It was the type of storm that Mayor Emily Larson said the city sees just a few times each year. Just last October, a storm walloped Duluth’s popular Lakewalk shoreline trail for the third time in a year, costing the city millions of dollars in repairs.
“We are used to having storms in the city of Duluth, but it’s always very challenging for us to recover from them,” Larson said at a news conference Monday night. “And it feels like every time we have one, we’re working hard to recover and then we have a few steps back.”
City officials said groups will be out assessing damage caused by Monday’s storm in the coming days, adding that so far it seems the Lakewalk area under repair was spared.
This time, Park Point bore the brunt. The narrow strip of land accessed via the Lift Bridge was initially closed to everyone but residents to protect photographers, surfers and other thrill-seekers.
But around 6 p.m., officials closed off the bridge to everything except emergency vehicles. A mobile alert warned those in the area to “shelter in place” due to flooding.
Minnesota Power said 9,000 Duluth customers were without power at the peak of the day’s outages. By the evening, most power was restored. Officials said they received 130 emergency calls.
“We are definitely seeing these storms more often,” Larson said, “and with more severity.”