Tree removal crews and utility trucks line the streets in communities still recovering from last weekend's powerful storms. And Xcel Energy officials say about 24,000 people are still without power in the aftermath -- down from about 600,000.
On Glenbrook Road North in Wayzata, a four-bedroom gray rambler caught the worst of the damage on its block.
• Q&A: Why was tree damage so extensive?
• Who's responsible when trees crush homes?
• Photos from the storm's aftermath
• Xcel Energy power outage map
Heather Cross watched as crews ground through a huge tree that fell on the back of a house where four women with developmental delays lived.
The home is owned by Episcopal Group Homes, where Cross is the program director.
"The ladies were sitting at the kitchen table right there and that's where the tree landed," Cross said.
No one was injured, Cross said. The tree hit the corner of the kitchen and now sprawls across the deck and garage.
"We have a brand new deck, brand new patio furniture and a brand new grill that are all as flat as a pancake right now," Cross said. "And watch out, there is a power line still down over here."
Cross considered herself lucky to have found a crew to come and remove the tree, the first in a long list of repairs.
"Oh and P.S., that's a brand new roof," Cross said. "Well, what can you do?"
The four residents and their caretakers were evacuated and taken to a hotel the night of the storm. The hotel stay near the Mall of America was a vacation the women hadn't wished for. Cross said they're anxious to return to their routine, and the disruption has been a challenge for staff as well.
"That's causing a lot of stress and anxiety for our ladies," Cross said.
She credits neighbors for helping them get out of the house the night of the storm.
"The neighbors all came out with their chain saws and got to work really fast,' Cross said [The neighbors] knew we had four vulnerable ladies so they came to check on us, so that was very nice."
Next-door neighbors, Drew and Mary Smith, are relieved the women are OK. Drew Smith said they came home after the storm Friday night to find a tree balanced over their own house.
"It just missed the house by a few feet, and only one limb punctured the roof at one spot, he said. "So we came out relatively unscathed."
"The rest of tree was caught by another large tree and it's holding it up there," Mary Smith said. "It's very odd to look up and see this tree at a funny angle being held up, and the base of it totally cracked all the way to the ground." Utility trucks idled in the street as crews erected a new utility pole.
Neighbor Mike Parks was surprised to learn the utility workers were brought in from Ohio to help. "One of the guys met me this morning and wanted to know where he could get biscuits and gravy. I told him you can go downtown [to] Maggie's and get biscuits and gravy," Parks said.
As they waited for power, neighbors tinkered with ways to get a little juice into their homes. In his basement, Drew Smith, a retired neurosurgeon, showed off the contraption he fashioned to keep his basement dry.
"I bought a bilge-type pump for marine use in boats, and hooked it up to a 12-volt battery and it takes out the water that way," Smith said. "It actually works very nicely."
The Smiths' refrigerator was plugged into a neighbor's generator.
"I want you to try to hear this one," said Mike Parks, rushing over to a small red box about the size of a sewing machine, whirring considerably quieter than the generator across the street.
"This is a little Honda portable generator," he explained. "You can run a sump pump, refrigerator, a television and have some lights. You might even be able to listen to some music on NPR!"
The mood on Glenbrook Road North remained upbeat. Late Monday night, power returned to one side of the street. Insurance squabbles will be next. Tree crews say cleaning up after this storm across the metro area will keep them busy through the summer.