Severe storms leave hail, wind damage in their wake

STAPLES, Minn. - Severe storms rumbled through northern Minnesota and into Wisconsin early Thursday, leaving reports of damage in their wake.

A cluster of strong storms that developed in North Dakota late Wednesday night/early Thursday pushed through a swath of counties in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin early Thursday. Most of the reports were of large hail, including some that measured up to 3" in New York Mills. Other areas reported hail in the 1"-2" range.

The same storms produce high winds in northern Todd County in central Minnesota. Numerous trees and power lines are down in and around Staples, MN. Wind gusts were measured of 62-79 mph in Staples. Todd County Sheriff Don Asmus says lots of power lines and trees are down, but authorities are not hearing of any major structure damage. Asmus said the northern third of the county took the biggest hit, especially Staples, Hewitt and Motley.

Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples Closed today due to a power outage.

Crow Wing Power's Jolene Jensen says they have 7-thousand customers without power from this morning's storms. Jensen says the storm hit the Brainerd area around 5:30 a.m. with strong winds and heavy rain. Crow Wing Power has two substations that are off line. All available crews are out working and they have called in contract crews to help. Jensen did not have an estimate as far as when power might be restored.

In western Wisconsin residents are also reporting major power outages and trees down. In Polk County, Sheriff Pete Johnson says those trees number in the 100s in and around the town of Luck. In Burnett County hail larger than a golf ball was reported.

Those powerful storms fired along a warm front that stretched across North Dakota into northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. South of that front dew points are near 70 degrees, quite humid for September. The same frontal boundary spawned storms Wednesday that produced large hail around Chisago City and west of the Twin Cities.

A strong cool front will sweep across Minnesota later Thursday, bringing some of the coolest air of the season. Dew points will drop overnight from the 70s into the 50s and 40s with highs Friday struggling to reach 70 degrees. Most of Minnesota will see highs in the 60s Friday.


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