Thunderstorms knock out power to thousands in US Midwest

June 21, 2013 21:26


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MINNEAPOLIS - Severe storms producing wind gusts up to 85 mph (137 km), heavy rain and lightning strikes in Minnesota and Wisconsin early on Friday, knocked down trees and power lines and at one point left more than 176,000 customers without power.

An area stretching from the Dakotas through Wisconsin was bracing for more storms, some severe, later on Friday and possible flooding after reports of three to four inches of rain (7.6-10 cm) fell in some communities already, the National Weather Service said.

"The weather pattern is pretty much going to be stationary tonight and through the weekend so we are concerned about the severe weather and also the potential for flooding," said Jacob Beitlich, a weather service meteorologist in the Twin Cities.

The storms developed in the Dakotas and powered southeast through Minnesota into Wisconsin, bringing heavy straight-line wind damage with a gust of 85 mph at the heart of it northwest of the Twin Cities, he said.

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