PHOTO GALLERY: Severe Weather — July 18

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in Carver County early Saturday morning during a loud and windy night of severe weather throughout the Twin Cities metro.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The tornado caused extensive damage to several homes and trees north of Highway 7 near Watertown and neighboring Hollywood Township. The Carver County Sheriff’s Office says they conducted a door-to-door search of the area, and found that no people or animals were injured.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The heaviest hit areas were about 40 minutes west of the Twin Cities. The non-stop lightning in the metro, there were numerous reports of downed tree and power lines due to strong blasts of wind — some upwards of 60 miles per hour.

In Mankato, storms left behind uprooted trees and damaged homes. Just hours after hosting a live concert, downtown Mankato saw destruction at Riverfront Park. Straighline winds collapsed the amphitheater canopy and scattered trash throughout the park. Hundreds of people in Mankato were still without power this afternoon.

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The strong winds are being blamed for numerous power outages throughout the area. Xcel Energy says at the peak, there were about 240,000 people without power. The company says more than 50,000 people are still without power as of Saturday evening.

Laura McCarten, Xcel Energy Regional Vice President, says they anticipate restoring power to around 200,000 customers by the end of the day. By the end of Sunday, McCarten says 95 percent of homes should have their power back on, with power to the remaining homes restored by Monday.

Xcel also says crews from several states are in the metro to help get power restored.

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The Twin Cities Tough Mudder — held in Hudson, Wisconsin — has been postponed due to storm damage on the course.