Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Yet another round of thunderstorms hit thousands of home still without power Sunday morning, leaving many with more storm damage and others fighting flash flooding.
Xcel Energy said more than a thousand crews are working around the clock to restore power across the state.
Wind gusting at 50 to 60 miles-per-hour toppled trees Friday night, knocking down power lines in their way.
At one point, the power company said more than a half million customers were in the dark.
The numbers fluctuated Sunday morning when 1,600 more people lost power but Xcel said they’re working to restore a majority of customers. As of 5:45 p.m. Sunday, 72,500 people are still without power.
“We do expect to make tremendous progress over the weekend,” said Kent Larson, Senior VP of operations for Xcel Energy. “By Sunday night, a lot of customers will be back in. We do know some customers won’t be back until Tuesday or possibly even Wednesday.”
Xcel is calling this restoration an “all-out effort,” saying they’re pulling resources from Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
They say the vast majority of customers will be restored by Wednesday afternoon, with a few lingering outages into the evening.
Xcel warns those dealing with storm damage to stay away from downed power lines, as there is no way to tell if the line is live.
It normally takes winds around 80 miles-per-hour to knock over a tree. But the high amount of rain caused the ground to soften.
That’s why so many trees were uprooted.
In Minneapolis, crews will collect debris curbside starting July 1.
In St. Paul, you’ll need to call and notify the city by Friday.
Plymouth Neighborhood Blocked In After Storms
Folks in one Plymouth are not only without power, but have another major problem to deal with.
Around a dozen families who live along a 200 yard stretch of Vinewood North are blocked in by downed power lines and trees. Cars can’t get in or out of the neighborhood.
“Not too good, kind of frustrating that we’re isolated,” resident Dale Wilson said.
One of the blocked sections is right next to Nate Mathias’ house on the corner of Sunset Trail and Vinewood North.
When the storm on Friday took out the tree and power line in his yard, he decided it would be better for his family to stay somewhere else until help arrived. They didn’t make it very far.
“We had waved at all the neighbors. ‘We’ll see you a little bit later. We’re going to spend the night somewhere else,’ and we came right back, reverse to the driveway,” Mathias said.
Mathias was told by Xcel Energy it could be Wednesday or Thursday before crews arrived to clear the road.
“So, us and about 20 neighbors might be trapped for a few days,” Mathias said.
For Mathias and all the other neighbors it’s a huge inconvenience.
“The only thing now is getting to work tomorrow,” neighbor Tanya Rustad said.
But neighbors fear what would happen if there was a medical emergency.
“We’d have to put them on a stretcher and wheel them out to the road,” Dale Wilson said.
A fire was also a concern. Fire trucks wouldn’t be able to go down the street and the hydrant on the corner is buried in debris.
While neighbors wait for the help to arrive, they’re helping each other out.
“We’re a close bunch in this neighborhood,” Mathias said.
They’re making the best of their situation.
“We’ve got the bike trailer ready to bring my son to daycare. My wife is carpooling with her mother and we’re trying to make do.”
By 5:30 p.m. Sunday, neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands. Removing two of the blocked sections and made Vinewood lane accessible. Xcel also removed one of the downed power lines.