Overnight storms knock out power to thousands across Minnesota

Storm clouds over the Twin Cities
Storm clouds swirl above South St. Paul, Minn., in August 2020, as severe storms move through the area. Strong storms that rolled across Minnesota late Tuesday and early Wednesday knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News file

Updated: 6 a.m.

Minnesota utilities were reporting about 40,000 homes and businesses without power early Wednesday, in the wake of severe storms that barreled across parts of the state overnight.

Those storms brought wind gusts as high as 81 mph near Hector in Renville County just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Other wind reports from overnight included 74 mph near Marshall, 68 mph near Redwood Falls and 67 mph in Bloomington.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported a peak wind gust of 62 mph.

The National Weather Service said it received reports of trees and branches down from Carver and McLeod counties east across the Twin Cities.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported that a house in the city of Grant caught fire after being hit by lightning. And the Bloomington Fire Department shared video of downed power lines sparking a small fire after the storms moved through.

Xcel Energy was reporting more than 37,000 customers without power in its Minnesota service area as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, most of those in the Twin Cities. The largest outages were on the west side of the metro.

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That number was down from more than 60,000 customers without power in the immediate wake of the storms early Wednesday.

The storms came in the wake of an intensely hot, humid day across much of central and southern Minnesota on Tuesday, with the heat index reaching as high as 115 degrees in Hutchinson; 113 at Madison, Rockford and Redwood Falls; and 111 in Buffalo and Granite Falls.

The Weather Service said the Twin Cities airport had a peak heat index of 109 degrees.

Much drier air is expected across the state for Wednesday, with highs in the 70s and 80s.

Find forecast details on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.