The power is expected to be back on this weekend for most of nearly 17,000 properties that lost electricity during a powerful storm that swept through the Brainerd area on Sunday.
More than 1,000 Minnesota Power customers were still without power Thursday. But 95 percent of its 8,000 customers who lost electricity during the storm should have power restored this weekend and everyone should be back on line by Monday, said Amy Rutledge, company spokeswoman.
More than 200 line workers and tree removal crew members have worked 16-hour days to repair the damage.
Crow Wing Power, an electric cooperative that serves 36,000 customers in Cass, Crow and Morrison counties, said all 9,000 of its customers who lost power were back online by Thursday afternoon. But there may be some individual outages that have gone undetected until cabin owners return to the area, said Char Kinzer, a cooperative spokeswoman.
"I've never seen a storm with so much tree and power line damage," she said. She called it the "most devastating storm" she's seen in the 25 years she's been at the cooperative.
The storm's 70 mile-per-hour winds mowed down power poles and trees in a swath from Gull Lake to Lake Hubert. More than 900 vacationers were forced to evacuate and some of the area's resorts and campgrounds were shut down until the debris is cleaned up and damages repaired.
Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., along with state Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, will tour the area Friday to assess the damage. Dayton and Nolan will fly over the damaged area in a helicopter. On the ground, they'll meet with resort owners, local and emergency management officials and volunteers.