MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Strong storms pushed through Minnesota Thursday night, causing extensive damage to some communities and leaving hundreds without power.
Flash flooding was another the problem, with many metro roads and freeways looking more like rivers at times. Before the evening’s severe weather, the Twin Cities already got a record amount of rain for Sept. 20.
Communities such as Northfield, Waterville, Dundas and Faribault were hit hard by storms — with Faribault Municipal Airport taking a major blow. Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst says the airport, located on the northwest edge of town, is the hardest hit area in the city.
Sheet metal from hangers, steel cables, power lines, insulation and all types of debris is scattered across Highway 21 next to the airport. Several airplanes were also toppled and tossed. No one was hurt.
A semi-truck was also toppled as it passed the airport on Hwy. 21. The driver, who was also unharmed, said the wind tipped the semi on its side, then spun the tail of the trailer around. It ended up covering the width of the westbound lane.
Dienst says the storm hit on the most opportunistic day for the fire department.
“Had everybody at the station, Thursday night is training night,” he said. “We knew this was coming in. Worked out pretty well. We were able to start chasing calls as they came in.”
The chief said the immediate priority after the storm was to get Xcel Energy crews there to fix a gas leak. They are also trying to secure the area because airplane owners are trying to check on their hangars and planes, but it is too dangerous to walk around the airport grounds because of the debris.
Cannon Falls Schools will be closed Friday. The district’s superintendent says there are a lot of downed power lines and impassable roads, so classes are canceled.
Faribault and Northfield public schools will be delayed two hours Friday. More school districts may also cancel classes.