A swath of thunderstorms swept across Minnesota early this morning, with winds up to 85 mph, nearly one-inch hailstones and flash flooding reported in Morris, Starbuck and Glenwood.
The strong winds brought down power lines across a nearly 300 mile swath of Minnesota. Xcel Energy was reporting more than 82,000 customers around the Twin Cities without power as of 5:30 a.m. The utility reported 110,000 customers without power across the southern half of Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. Widespread outages stretched from the Fargo-Moorhead area to Mankato and Cannon Falls.
The rain was also affecting the morning commute: MnDOT reported flooding on Interstate 35W, and a crash between a passenger vehicle and a semi on the southbound Interstate 35W near Lake Street.
The storm included very strong straight line winds, measuring up to 85 mph near Benson, according to local storm reports to the National Weather Service. Gusts of 70 mph or more were reported near Hoffman and Buffalo, all northwest of the Twin Cities. Wind reports topped 60 mph near Willmar, Starbuck, Morris, Hutchinson and Princeton.
St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says trees were uprooted in some places in his city, but there were no major injuries.
"We have a significant amount of tree damage and of course power lines that are down related to tree damage. It's pretty much throughout the city," Kleis said.
Kleis said there was some minor damage to city buildings, others are operating on back-up generators. But he said the city's seen worse storms in the past.
The St. Cloud VA issued a release saying the campus was open for normal operations, despite some tree loss. The VA said it will run on back up generators until power is restored.
Trees up to three feet in diameter were reported down in Belgrade, about an hour west of St. Cloud. Police reported street flooding in Glenwood and Morris and flash flooding in Sauk Center. Torrential rain prompted early morning flash flood warnings in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and southern Itasca counties.
The St. Cloud airport reported more than two inches of rain overnight. The St. Paul airport reported an inch and a quarter of rain. Storm reports included half-inch hail in Burnsville, three quarter inch hail in Eagan and nearly 1 inch hail in St. Paul. The Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport reported a 47 mile-an-hour wind gust and half-inch hail and a total of 1.86 inches of rain.
The storm continued southeast through the Rochester area this morning, where authorities reported half inch hail at 5:30 a.m.
Here are the rainfall totals.
Source, National Weather Service, Iowa State University.
MPR reporter Conrad Wilson contributed to this report.