Minnesota Power responds after tornado, severe storms hit region
Early damage assessment indicates restoration will be a multi-day event.
Minnesota Power reported the company is responding safely and as quickly as possible to restore power after at least one tornado and severe thunderstorms caused significant damage throughout the western part of the state on Monday, May 30.
“Because of the scope and scale of the damage to power lines and other infrastructure, we expect this will be a multi-day outage for some customers. The storms hit much of Minnesota, and we expect to request assistance from utilities located outside of Minnesota to support the response.”
A round of severe storms early Monday left nearly 7,000 of our customers without power. Crews
responded and restored power to about 6,000 customers. Another round of severe weather hit Monday afternoon and evening, including at least one confirmed tornado. Some crews were forced to shelter in place in Todd County before resuming restoration work related to the morning storms, Minnesota Power reported. “Multiple power lines and power poles are down across our service area, causing numerous outages affecting about 14,000 customers as of 8 p.m. Monday.”
The hardest hit areas include Little Falls, Eagle Bend, Clarissa, Browerville, Pequot Lakes, Crosby, Ironton, Deerwood, Nisswa, Pine River, Verndale and Pequot Lakes. Other outages are scattered across the region including the Iron Range area and International Falls as of 8 p.m. Monday. Minnesota Power reported all available line crews are in the field working, though most damage assessment may not be possible until Tuesday morning.
“The safety of our crews and customers is of top priority during this outage response. Stay clear of downed power lines, poles and wires. Keep pets and children away from those areas. Do not attempt to touch or lift any wire with poles or sticks. Do not get out of your vehicle on or near wires. All power lines should be considered energized and dangerous,” the company reported. “Our customers’ patience is appreciated as we recognize the inconvenience caused by the outages. Power restoration in this situation is a phased approach. Public safety and critical infrastructure are the first priorities.”
The company noted its crews begin with the larger transmission lines, move to the primary distribution lines, then move into neighborhoods to repair individual services.
“This approach allows us to restore power to a larger number of customers as quickly as possible, helps eliminate exposure to hazardous safety conditions such as low-hanging energized lines, and allows us to restore critical loads such as hospitals and public safety as quickly as possible,” Minnesota Power reported. “Damaged transformers serving multiple customers are repaired first, then transformers serving individual customers.”
Some customers who have damage to their electric service meter and mast will need to contact an electrical contractor for repairs before Minnesota Power can restore power to the residence, the Duluth-based company stated.
For the latest outage information, Minnesota Power encourages customers to visit the Minnesota Power Outage Center at www.mnpower.com/OutageCenter and download the Minnesota Power mobile app for smartphones and tablets at www.mnpower.com/MobileApp . Customers also can follow Minnesota Power on Facebook and Twitter to get outage updates.