MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Twin Cities and other parts of the region lost power after three waves of strong storms packing high winds raked the area.
At the outage’s height, more than 505,000 Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota were affected, the company said. About 136,000 were still without electricity by 4:00 p.m. Saturday. The company said its electrical transmission and distribution system was severely damaged by the three rounds of weather that moved through on Friday morning, Friday evening and early Saturday.
Large trees were down all across the Twin Cities. The National Weather Service said a wind gust measuring 69 mph was reported just before 8 p.m. in Crystal in the northern Twin Cities.
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Xcel spokesman Tom Hoen says the infrastructure suffered significant damage and that restoration efforts will be a large, “multi-day event.”
“If we have a live wire somewhere that needs to be taken care of, or a matter of public safety, that gets taken care of then it’s critical care structures such as a hospital, nursing home, or day care. Then, we go after where we can get most bang for our buck,” Hoen said.
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Hoen said they will have 1,100 linemen on the ground by Sunday from all over the region to help restore power.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed an Emergency Executive Order early Saturday afternoon, helping to ease restrictions on out-of-state utility trucks coming to Minnesota to help in response to the severe weather.
Due to power outages, some weekend events have been canceled, including the Minnetonka Summer Festival and the Wayzata Art Experience. Hennepin County also closed these six libraries: Northeast, Roosevelt, St. Anthony, Hosmer, Wayzata and Webber Park.
Showers and thunderstorms are in the Twin Cities’ forecast through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
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