Midwest storms kill 1, leave thousands without power


Lightning strikes the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in downtown on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.


Scott Olson

One woman is dead and 200,000 people are still without power after a second wave of storms ravaged the Midwest United States on Friday and Saturday.

A 63-year-old woman was trying to take shelter in her bathtub when strong winds tossed her trailer in South Dakota on Friday afternoon, Hamlin County Sheriff Chad Schlotterbeck told Reuters.

Tens of thousands in Minnesota and Wisconsin are still without power after heavy rains and strong winds continued to pound residents there.

“It was very intense,” said Tom Hoen, a spokesman for Xcel Energy. “We saw a lot of damage throughout the metro area."

The National Weather Service also reported tornadoes touching down in some counties of South Dakota, The Associated Press said.

“It was completely black on the tree horizon and then in less than five minutes all of the sudden it was right on top of us,” Lake Poinsett resident Randy Knudtson told the AP. “I’ve never seen winds like this.”

In Minnesota, Hoen told Reuters that a chance of weaker storms returning to the area overnight could scuttle repair efforts.

“Unfortunately, because of the massive scale of the damage, we will have customers without service going into Tuesday,” he said.

Branches propelled by wind gusts tore down power lines and easily uprooted trees from the water-logged earth.

Nearly 500,000 were without power at the height of the storms, KSTP in St. Paul reported.

It led Gov. Mark Dayton to sign an emergency order that allows out-of-state power companies to help repair the damage.

Hail nearly two inches in diameter is also contributing to the problems. Nearly six inches of rain fell, causing flooding in many parts of Minnesota, the TV station reported.

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