MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Severe thunderstorms have rolled across central and southern Minnesota, bringing winds gusting up to 80 mph, multiple reports of hail and cutting power to more than 4,000 people.
The storms prompted tornado warnings in the southern Twin Cities and southeastern Minnesota, but no tornadoes were reported as of Tuesday evening. Several people posted pictures of menacing clouds on social media.
The National Weather Service says the storms brought winds of 70-80 mph across southern Scott County and parts of Dakota and Rice counties.
Trees were reported down in North Mankato. Three power poles were snapped and another fractured near Henderson, which saw wind gusts up to 85 mph.
The storms followed a warm, humid day. The temperature reached 85 degrees Fahrenheit at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Heavy rain pounded south metro communities like Burnsville, Apple Valley and Lakeville Tuesday. Rising water on Lakeville roads caused several cars to quickly became submerged.
“I could hardly even see. My wipers we going as hard as they could and I couldn’t even see,” said driver Nick Kroeten.
The 20 year old was blocks from home when he drove through water, and his car shut off.
“I didn’t know there was water pooled in the road, and I hit a puddle and it washed up over my car,” Kroeten said.
When he got out, the water was thigh high. He got out OK, and that’s when Marek’s Towing took over.
“You never know, with this kind of work you have to be ready for anything any time of day,” said tow truck operator Justin Sigerud.
He got to work trudging through the floodwater to hook up the car. As Sigerud worked, the waters began to recede.
“When I learned to hook up a car it was on dry pavement, and I’ve gotten really good where I can just about do it blindfolded,” Sigerud said. “Never really thought I’d have to do it in the water.”
The area saw hail and high winds move through with the rain. Experts advise drivers to turn around when they see water. Beyond getting stuck, roads may be washed out below. Kroeten says he couldn’t see to avoid it in this case, and is grateful for understanding parents.
“I guess I was harder on myself than they were, so that was nice of them, but still kind of beating myself up a little,” Kroeten said.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)