Stormy weather rolled across the much of Minnesota under cover of darkness early Tuesday, bringing a hint of relief from what has been an exceptionally dry summer but also scattered reports of large hail and damage from strong winds.
Winds topping 60 miles per hour were reported as two lines of storms moved from west to east, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Chanhassen.
By 8 a.m., the NWS downplayed the possibility of damaging winds but said people in the Twin Cities and elsewhere from Grand Rapids south to Mankato should receive more showers and thunderstorms at times.
Xcel Energy reported more than 16,000 Twin Cities customers without electrical power at one time Tuesday morning. That total shrank to fewer than 9,500 as of 10 a.m., with most of them in the metro area, said Xcel spokesman Matt Lindstrom.
"We currently have over 400 employees and contractors working to safely restore power as quickly as possible to customers impacted by this morning's storms," Lindstrom said. "We appreciate our customers patience as our crews work to make the repairs needed to restore power throughout the day and respond to any new outages that may occur."
Credit River in Scott County has received nearly 0.88 inches of rain so far along with nickel-sized hail, the weather service said. Just to the west of the metro area in Hutchinson, a downed tree was blocking traffic on Hwy. 7, the NWS reported.
Farther west in Minnesota, there were three roads blocked by downed trees in Glenwood, where wind speeds reached nearly 60 mph, according to the NWS.
To the south Monday night in Mankato, there was 2 inches of rain and one report of an "oblong-shaped hailstone approximately 2 inches across," read an NWS statement.
North of St. Cloud, an inch of rain fell as of 4 a.m. in Rice, where hail also came down, the weather service said.
The forecast for the Twin Cities calls for 1 to 2 inches of rain by 1 p.m., with hail and strong winds likely. The chance of rain dissipates by nightfall.
Looking ahead to Thursday, the opening day of the State Fair, the weather service has rain and thunderstorms in the forecast starting early in the afternoon, with high temperatures in the low 70s.
The prospect of rain through the weekend remains but dwindles as Friday turns to Saturday and then Sunday, according to the NWS.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482