Storm packs punch in short time in lakes area
A powerful line of thunderstorms ripped across the Brainerd lakes area late Monday afternoon, knocking down trees and power lines in its wake.
There were reports of numerous trees down throughout southern Cass and Crow Wing counties. The peak wind speed measured at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport was 52 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
In addition to tree damage, the storm left thousands of people in the area without power. However, there were no reports of extensive damage to property. The National Weather Service received reports of sign damage in Nisswa and damage to a dock on Gull Lake.
Aitkin, Crow Wing and Cass counties were all under severe thunderstorm warnings between 4:30 p.m. to about 7 p.m. Tornado warnings were issued for Morrison and Todd counties, but it wasn't known Monday night what damage, if any, occurred in those counties.
A trained spotter reported to the weather service hail a half-inch in size and estimated 50 mph winds a mile north of Fort Ripley. There were reports of trees down north of Leader in Cass County and trees down north of Baxter near Nashway Road and See Gull Road, both off Highway 371, south of Nisswa.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said overall Cass County didn't get hit hard from the impact of the storm. He said the northern part of the county didn't even get any rain. Burch said there were quite a few trees down in the southern part of the county, but Lake Shore was hit the hardest.
"We were able to get all the trees off the roads, so they are all open," Burch said just before 8 p.m. Monday. "There were some power lines down and some power outages in Lake Shore."
Lake Shore Police Chief Steve Sundstrom said there are a lot of power lines and trees down and a majority of the city residents have no power. He hopes the power will be restored sometime Tuesday.
"We are getting the roads so they are all passable," Sundstrom said about 8 p.m. Monday. "Nisswa firefighters helped us clear some trees and a guy came out with his Bobcat to help clear the roads."
Sundstrom said Upper Roy Lake Road had a lot of trees down in multiple areas.
"We are doing pretty good here, no one was hurt," Sundstrom said. "I was working on County Road 29 when the winds became excessive to where I would guess around 66-70 mph, but I'm not sure what the actual wind gusts was. It came through with one big gust and then just steady winds. It turned black and you could see it from the west. It went from being 91 degrees out to 68 degrees within minutes.
"It wasn't as bad as last year's storms."
Just before 6 p.m., the Crosby Fire Department was called as there were trees down and people trapped on Silkstone Drive, according to reports on the police scanner. The trees were removed and the people were able to get out.
About 6 p.m., as the storm moved out, upwards of 3,500 customers were without power across the lakes area, including large areas in Merrifield and the Round Lake/North Long Lake areas, along with a long swath along the Deerwood Shortcut (County Highway 12).
According to the Minnesota Power website about 8 p.m. Monday, there was five power outages affecting 1,461 customers north of Brainerd on Round Lake, eight power outages affecting 511 customers near the Crosby/Deerwood area, three outages affecting 562 customers southwest of Little Falls and 25 outages affecting 314 customers near Long Prairie.
During the same time, Crow Wing Power had a total of 55 power outages, with 785 households were out of power.
The NWS forecast for Brainerd includes a chance of showers this week, with temperatures in the 80s. On Tuesday, there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in Brainerd, mainly before 5 p.m. There is a chance of showers between 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m. and another chance before 1 a.m.
The chance of rain goes down to 20 percent by Thursday.