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Heavy Rains, Strong Winds Pound Twin Cities

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Heavy rains and high winds have left roads flooded and thousands without power in the Twin Cities.

The winds swept through fast and the rain fell hard in the metro, stranding some cars on Interstate 94 at Broadway.

The storm also caused plenty of damage in the Twin Cities and around other parts of the state.

Wind gusts in the area were as strong as 50 mph. The storm first hit the metro in the Lake Minnetonka area, where it did some of its worst damage.

The chainsaws are working overtime along County Road 15 in Minnetrista. Five big trees fell across the roadway and it’ll likely be closed for a while.

Trees and power lines are down all over the neighborhood near the Mound-Minnetrista border. Xcel Energy reports nearly 35,000 Twin Cities customers without power as of 3:20 p.m. Monday. Most of the outages are in the west metro.

“It came through real fast,” said Jim Koski. “It’s basically about a half a mile spread where the trees went down and that’s about it. Quick and simple.”

Down the road, Paula Larson had the most interesting story to tell. A big tree filled up her front yard with downed power lines, landing on her porch. And she got quite a surprise when help arrived.

“The fire department was called and my son who grew up in this house, he was the fire truck crew leader and he had to respond to his own childhood home and make sure that the lightning hadn’t set the house on fire,” she said.

Vehicles were struggling to get through high water on Interstate 94 north of downtown Minneapolis. High water also slowed traffic on Highway 280 in Lauderdale.

The National Weather Service says about three-quarters of an inch of rain flooded streets in St. Paul. Winds gusted more than 40 mph.

In western Minnesota, KBRF-AM reports an estimated 4 inches of rain fell in two hours in Elbow Lake Monday morning.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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