ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Crews are working to clear the main streets in Rochester after a powerful storm swept through, knocked down trees, scattered debris and ignited a house fire.

Officials say the house was struck by lightning early Wednesday, which started a fire in the attic. All occupants evacuated safely. Winds blew dozens of tree branches onto power lines, cutting service to thousands of residents.

The storm generated wind gusts from 60 to 75 mph in the region as well as large hail in Winona County.

The Post-Bulletin reports firefighters helped the Assisi Heights nursing home with backup oxygen for residents when the center’s power failed.

The Austin Daily Herald reports winds also toppled a 440-foot transmitter tower in Austin. KSMQ-TV president and CEO Eric Olson says the station was back on the air Wednesday night but still needs to rebuild the tower.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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