By Bill Hudson


NORTH BRANCH, Minn. (WCCO) — Cleanup is underway in the north metro after strong storms  pummeled a wide swath of central and northeastern Minnesota.

Storms that developed mid-afternoon dropped torrential rains and packed high winds.

A number of cities reported minor street flooding, and some are dealing with major cleanup of downed trees and power lines.

Booming thunder and pounding rain cut a diagonal swath across Minnesota. After ominous storm clouds shrouded the city of Cambridge, power was soon lost.

“We were in the back corner looking at lawn furniture and all the sudden it went black,” said Nancy Johnston.

Nancy Johnston and her husband were shopping inside the Cambridge Target store when the aisles suddenly went dark.

“We could hang out if we wanted to hang out, right now everything’s down so they can’t do anything,” Nancy Johnston said.

Despite the raging storm outside, Russ Johnston said it was relatively calm inside.

“No, we didn’t feel nothing inside, no. Just heard it coming down, you could hear it on the roof coming down really hard,” he said.

Saturday began hot and steamy with high temperatures in the mid-90’s. Construction workers along the Nicollet Mall were sweating it out. But by late afternoon, the temperature began dropping and skies suddenly darkened.

Soon, high winds were toppling trees and power lines, from St. Cloud to Duluth. In many places toppled trees fell onto busy roadways, creating serious highway hazards.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The southbound lane of State Highway 25 south of Foley was blocked by a large pine tree.

One of the more ominous sights was found in the city of North Branch in the east side of town. That’s where a stately old maple tree was uprooted and crashed onto a two-story house.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Holy buckets. That’s awful. I feel bad for them,” said Sue Lewis.

What took nature a century to grow, now gone in one furious summer blow.

Bill Hudson

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