Damaging storm hits north-central Minnesota

The National Weather Service radar captures a strong thunderstorm over north-central Minnesota. Multiple power outages and reports of storm damage accompanied the storm that brought torrential rainfall and possible funnel clouds. Screenshot / National Weather Service

Sirens sounded across the Brainerd lakes area as severe weather tore through in the early evening of Sunday, July 14.

Severe weather threatens the lakes area, as reports of possible funnel cloud sightings came from the Pine River area around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14. The Deerwood Auditorium is open, as of 6:30 p.m., for those in Deerwood seeking shelter during Sunday's severe storms.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning until 7:15 p.m. Sunday for Brainerd, Baxter, Crosby, Nisswa, Ironton, Deerwood, Cuyuna, Upper South Long Lake, Merrifield, Gull Lake, Bay Lake, Riverton, Trommald, Woodrow, Legionville, North Long Lake, Cuyuna Country State Park and Barrows. The warning included the potential for 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-sized hail.

Josh Sandstrom, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said a weather spotter reported a funnel cloud about 2 miles southeast of Pine River. After reviewing a photo, Sandstrom said weather service officials are not sure the sighting was a true funnel cloud or tornado, but that doesn't mean more severe weather is not on the way.


"He said he saw some rotation and it looked like it was lowering to the ground for a little while," Sandstrom said.

No other tornadic activity had been spotted so far, Sandstrom said just before 6 p.m., though he noted there had been a lot of strong rain, thunder and lightning, especially around the Backus area.

Quarter-sized hail was reported near Hackensack Sunday afternoon, Sandstrom said, along with nearly 2 inches of rain near Longville.

A Backus resident reported hail in the Backus area as well, and Crosslake resident reported two trees down in her yard.

Sandstrom said he expects more strong winds and hail to follow.

Reports from the police scanner

Several reports came in from the police scanner beginning just before 6 p.m. Sunday, including:

  • A possible powerline down across County Highway 66 by the Bourbon Room in Crosslake.
  • Trees down across Bonnie Lakes Road in Crosslake.
  • Trees down across 32nd Avenue Southwest in Pine River Township.
  • Authorities were instructed to notify campers in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
  • Tornado sirens were sounded in several cities, including Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Crosslake, Cuyuna, Deerwood and Crosby.

Power outages

Several power outages were reported across Cass, Crow Wing and Todd counties Sunday evening, including more than 700 Crow Wing Power customers out of power northeast of Backus. On its Facebook page, Crow Wing Power reported a total of approximately 1,100 members without power.

Hundreds of Minnesota Power customers in Todd County are out of power around the Browerville and Eagleville areas as well. As of shortly before 7 p.m., more than 2,100 customers were affected by 30 outages across Minnesota Power's provider area.

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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