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High Winds Storm Through Minnesota, Wisconsin

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(credit: Megan Gullickson/Marshall)

(credit: Megan Gullickson/Marshall)

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REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A fierce summer storm packing straight-line winds approaching 80 mph marched through Minnesota and Wisconsin Friday, leaving in its wake damaged homes and structures, toppled trees and several thousand blacked-out utility customers.

No injuries were reported from the storm that entered southwest Minnesota on Friday afternoon and took nearly six hours to pass through the state before slipping into northwest Wisconsin, said Matt Friedlein, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the Twin Cities.

He said affected areas in Minnesota included Marshall, Redwood Falls, the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.

Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith (klayth) said roofs were torn off in Marshall, Russell and Balaton, and a “significant amount of trees” are down in Marshall.

Tyler Police Chief John Spindler believes a tornado hit his city just after 4 p.m. Friday. Spindler said the power may be out for up to a week.

Trees and power lines also were down in Redwood Falls. KLGR-AM was knocked off the air Friday.

In central Minnesota, McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews said the roof was torn off a Hutchinson animal medical center, and two semis were blown off highways.

“Some communities had multiple passes at this storm — including golfball-, baseball- and softball-sized hail,” Friedlein said. He said weather service officials will determine over the weekend whether any tornadoes touched down.

Xcel Energy said Friday night that more than 44,000 customers were without power in the Twin Cities.

Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler said early Saturday morning that several people reported non-life-threatening injuries in Douglas County, Wis., where toppled trees threatened campers and motorists, damaged homes and closed several roads.

“There are 19 fire departments in the county, and at one point 17 of them were out trying to help,” Kesler said. “We’ll know more when daylight hits.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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