Severe storms hit Minnesota

July 17, 2010 at 11:46 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, July 17 (UPI) -- Tornadoes, large hail and other severe storms socked the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area and other parts of Minnesota Saturday evening, officials said.

The National Weather Service said local law enforcement sources reported seeing a tornado south of Forest Lake and another 2 miles west of Rogers, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

KARE-TV, Minneapolis, reported one tornado was spotted near Kingston in Wright County, another was sighted 2 miles southwest of Watertown and 4.25-inch hail fell near Cold Spring in Stearns County.

The TV station said strong straight-line winds and funnel clouds also were reported in Brainerd and Alexandria in central Minnesota.

Funnel clouds were sighted in the St. Cloud vicinity and Mayor Dave Kleis told Minneapolis's KSTP-TV he and others attending an event at the Paramount Theater were evacuated to the basement after warning sirens sounded.

WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, reported Todd County officials said winds had knocked down trees in that area with baseball-size hail also reported.

There were no immediate reports of storm-related injuries.

The Pioneer Press reported the weather service had reported a flood advisory until 3 a.m. for Ramsey County, where St. Paul is located, and portions of Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Washington counties after up to 2 inches of rains had fallen in a 2-hour period.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the weather service reported winds of 81 mph in Little Falls and 76 mph in Monticello.

Xcel Energy spokeswoman Mary Sandok said about 6,300 homes were without power in Minneapolis and western suburbs, another 3,400 homes blacked out in St. Paul and eastern suburbs, and about 8,000 more in the stretch from St. Cloud to Monticello, the Star Tribune said.

Winds sent tents and rides flying at the Sherburne County Fair in Elk River, KSTP-TV reported.

The storms cut short a performance of "Mikado" at the Lake Harriet bandshell in Minneapolis but the Minnesota Twins got through their game with Chicago at Target Field, winning 3-2.

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