Severe storms down trees, power lines across southern Minnesota on Saturday

Three evaluated for injuries after lightning strikes Lakeville park shelter

Lightning damage to park shelter
Police in Lakeville, Minn., said three people were being evaluated for injuries after lightning struck a park shelter on Saturday. It happened at Casperson Park, just east of Interstate 35.
Courtesy of Lakeville Police Department

Updated: 7:40 p.m.

Severe storms packing 70 mph wind gusts knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses across southern Minnesota on Saturday.

As of 6:45 p.m., utilities reported large power outages affecting the Granite Falls area in western Minnesota, and much of Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota — including Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of 72 mph at Canby, 69 mph near Granite Falls and 60 mph near Red Wing.

Granite Falls was particularly hard-hit, with widespread tree damage and downed power lines that blocked some streets on Saturday afternoon. The West Central Tribune reported that Yellow Medicine East High School was among the buildings to suffer roof damage from the strong winds.

The storms brushed the western and southern Twin Cities metro area. Police in Lakeville said three people were being evaluated for injuries after lightning struck a park shelter. It happened at Casperson Park, just east of Interstate 35.

Lightning damage to park shelter
Police in Lakeville, Minn., said three people were being evaluated for injuries after lightning struck a park shelter on Saturday.
Courtesy of Lakeville Police Department

Forty people were attending a party at the shelter when the lightning hit and blasted a hole in the roof and ceiling. No one was critically injured.

After skirting the southern Twin Cities metro area, the line of storms reintensified Saturday evening in southeastern Minnesota before moving into western Wisconsin.

Earlier Saturday, a separate storm in northern Minnesota prompted a tornado warning for parts of Cass and Crow Wing counties. Weather spotters reported seeing a funnel cloud nearly touching the ground near Backus, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

More severe storms are possible across Minnesota on Sunday; find updates on MPR Weather's Updraft blog.

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