Twin Cities hit by overnight storms that bring downed trees and damage

MINNETONKA (Minn.) — The storms that swept through the Twin Cities over night and into Wednesday morning brought down many trees and branches.

The strong winds blew a large tree down onto two cars, covering a good portion of Minnehaha Avenue. The strong winds also knocked down a light post.

A huge tree branch fell onto a car about a block from the scene on 34th Street. The owner reported that his car was mostly unharmed with only some minor damage to the windshield.

Hennepin County reports that the official highest wind speed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was 62 mph. Eden Prairie recorded the highest wind speed at 50 mph and Falcon Heights 52 mph. The emergency manager of the county said that most of the damage was caused by branches, not entire trees.

Xcel Energy reports that 135,000 customers from Minnesota and western Wisconsin lost power overnight. Since then, more than 70% of the connections have been restored. At 6 p.m., there were fewer than 10,000 customers in the metro area without power.

According to the company, situations that pose a threat to public safety such as downed live wires are given top priority for repair.

A WCCO crew was on 31st Avenue when they saw police on the scene of a motorcycle accident. There were also a large tree branch and a dead body nearby. Police have not yet provided us with any more information about the incident and whether or not it was related to weather.

Nathan Eklund, a homeowner in Golden Valley, says that big storms have meant little sleep for him.

Eklund stated, “I thought it might be a street sweeper going by. [laughs]” “It was loud enough to awaken us from a dead-sleep.”

On Wednesday morning, tree shrapnel rained down on the entire neighborhood.

Eklund said, “There was a large branch in the side yard and the backyard was littered by branches and other stuff from the tree.”

Hennepin County Emergency Management director Eric Waage said they always warn people about the dangers associated with storms at this time of the year.

This is our peak period. Waage stated that “we always expect to be hit by the weather in summer.” “This would be the Christmas season if we were in retail. But we’re not.”

Benjamin Torell, a resident of Golden Valley, says that he is glad to have the right channel on at the right moment.

It was great to get a heads-up. WCCO was a great help last night. “The power was on, and they came into the room and warned us that it was coming,” Torell stated. “We put our plans into action quickly, which gave us a 10 minute head start. Then it was as if a switch had been flipped.”

Experts tell WCCO the storms and wind from last night would have brought down a lot of trees in normal conditions. Because the ground is so solid, the trees stay put. It’s only the branches that are being thrown.

Waage explained that “with the hard, dry soil you had more branches snapping than trees toppling or falling over.”

These branches knocked the power out for tens and thousands of people including Eklund’s neighbors. As the clouds begin to clear, Eklund says he is focused on its silver lining.

It was lucky that nobody’s home, or anything really large, came down. He said that it seemed like the situation could have been much worse.


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