MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Parts of Minnesota and western Wisconsin are cleaning up Wednesday after a powerful overnight storm.

Strong winds hit Washington County, which is just east of the Twin Cities metro, especially hard. Trees and utility lines were downed all over Hugo and Forest Lake. Thousands were left without power.

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Further east, in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, a blast of wind lifted a house off its foundation and moved it 20 feet.


Sara Nelson was in bed with her youngest son when the storm struck around 2 a.m.

“As I’m on my phone about to pull up the radar, I see my large china hutch going in the opposite direction,” she said.

When her home began to move, she scrambled to find her husband and other son.

Nelson’s husband, Dewey, says the powerful gust lasted only a few minutes.

“Then it was just quiet, it was done,” he said.

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Inside, the home was strewn with broken furniture, baseball cards, and shattered glass. Outside, the modular house had moved off its foundation more than 20 feet.

Sarah was shaken up.

“My youngest…He lost his cat,”she said. “Devastated to see him losing his best friend.”

Sarah, her husband and two kids were unharmed. The family’s dog also survived.

The Nelsons says they’ve rented the home for seven years. They are currently staying in a hotel, planning their next move.

The severe storms also affected parts of northern Minnesota. In Alexandria, a downed tree dissected a garage, crushing the car inside.

Xcel Energy reported that the storm damage to utility lines left some 56,000 people without power in Minnesota.

By late afternoon Wednesday, that number was down to about 5,000. The company expects to have everyone restored by nightfall.

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