By Bill Hudson

HASTINGS (WCCO) — Near a small strip mall along South Robert Street in West St. Paul, no power meant no gas at the pumps, no stop lights at intersections and no customers inside Lisa Harrington’s Martinizing store.

“It’s been an interesting morning. A little chaotic. I’m just sitting here reading the paper and taking it easy,” said Harrington.

High winds knocked out power to some 70,000 Xcel Energy customers in the Twin Cities. Dakota Electric in Farmington reported more than 10,000 customers lost power in the storm. However, by mid-Tuesday afternoon, the majority of those were back in service.

A Dakota Electric crew working south of Vermillion expected to put in a 16 hour day in order to rebuild downed lines!

“I heard they had like 70 mile per hour winds. Once you get one (pole) going down it takes the others right along with it,” said crew leader Shane Klotz.

Uprooted trees pulled up natural gas service lines and knocked out power along many city blocks in Hastings. But on Steve Rechtzigal’s farm south of Vermillion, a hot sticky day without air conditioning is the least of his worries. The high winds tore apart his barn and knocked down trees all over his property. Fortunately, friends and family stopped in to help with his clean-up efforts.

When asked if he had power, Steve said, “none whatsoever. Maybe get it back in a couple of days.”

For Rechtzigel, there’s simply too much cleanup to spend any time indoors anyway. Meantime, down along South Robert Street, businesses were flickering back to life. Good news to business operators like Lisa Harrington.

“I’m back in business, yes,” Harrington said.

If you’re still without power, the health department is advising caution with your frozen foods.

If the temp inside your fridge got above 41 degrees for more than four hours, don’t take chances and throw it out.


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