Powerful thunderstorms rolled through north-central Minnesota the evening of Friday, Aug. 31—sparing Brainerd to the south, it ripped through much of northern Crow Wing, Cass and Aitkin counties before heading off into Duluth and northwestern Wisconsin.
According to the National Weather Service in Duluth, the weather system—strong enough to prompt a severe thunderstorm warning—careened across the state's topography at roughly 60 mph. At different points, it produced wind gusts nearly that strong, as well as rainfall, lightning strikes and hailstones, some as large as baseballs just southeast of Aitkin. Significant hail was reported by weather spotters throughout the storm's path. Out west in Henning, residents experienced 10 minutes of falling hailstones, some the size of silver dollars.
The storm resulted in downed trees, postponed sports games and a sprinkling of power outages across the area.
According to initial reports from the emergency dispatch scanner, the Pequot Lakes Fire Department responded to a house struck by lightning near County Highway 16. There were also reports of a large downed tree on Highway 169, just north of Highway 210. There were scanner reports of a roof collapse of a house on Burgstaler Road, on the Aitkin/Crow Wing County line—an incident that reportedly trapped people inside for a time and resulted in an 80-year-old man suffering a injured leg.