Updated: 8:15 a.m.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses remained without power across southern Minnesota on Thursday morning, in the wake of severe storms that brought damaging winds, flooding rain, hail and a few reports of tornadoes.
The storms were responsible for at least one death — a woman who died in a crash caused by downed power lines along Interstate 90 near Worthington.
More strong storms were moving across far western Minnesota early Thursday — and more-widespread severe weather is possible across much of the state Thursday afternoon and evening.
Fatal crash on Interstate 90
The Minnesota State Patrol said a 30-year-old woman died and four other people were injured in the crash on I-90 in Nobles County, east of Worthington.
The patrol said severe storms knocked power lines across the freeway just before 6 pm Wednesday. An eastbound car stopped to avoid hitting the wires and was struck by a semi, also traveling east.
A passenger in the car, identified as Martha Lilian Llanos Rodriguez of Mexico City, died at the scene. The driver and two other passengers were injured. Social media posts from Wednesday indicated they were meteorologists who were in the region to observe the severe weather.
The driver of a third vehicle was also injured after hitting the downed wires.
Xcel Energy reported about 35,000 customers without power as of 8:15 am Thursday in its Minnesota service area, most of those in the Twin Cities metro area. That’s down from more than 75,000 late Wednesday nights. Other utilities also responded to widespread power outages overnight.
In addition to knocking down power lines, wind gusts of nearly 80 mph also sent trees onto cars and buildings around the Twin Cities — and even knocked down the entry doors at a Target store in Roseville, according to a report received by the National Weather Service .
Weather spotters also reported damage to some structures in Madelia, including the roof being ripped off of a building under construction. Damage to outbuildings was noted in the Sanborn and Buffalo Lake areas.
The Weather Service reported wind gusts as high as 79 mph at Morristown, 77 mph near Shakopee and 76 mph near Windom. There were reports of gusts in excess of 60 mph at Eden Prairie, Anoka, Hopkins and Roseville; Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recorded a peak wind like 61 mph.
Heavy rain causes flooding
Torrential rain Wednesday night flooded some streets and highways in the metro area, with several reports of vehicles stranded in the flash flooding. Street flooding and sewer backups were also reported in the Hutchinson area. The storms also brought hailstones larger than golf balls to Shakopee.
And spotters also reported several tornado sightings as the volatile storms raced across — one near New Ulm, and three others in Cottonwood County, west of Windom. There were no immediate reports of damage from those possible tornadoes in southwest Minnesota, which have not yet been confirmed by the National Weather Service.
Tornado warnings sounded across much of the Twin Cities on Wednesday night, but there were no immediate reports of tornado touchdowns in the metro area.
The Weather Service says there is an “enhanced risk” for severe storms across much of Minnesota on Thursday — with some storms already rumbling in western parts of the state, and more storms expected Thursday afternoon and evening.
Any additional rainfall could cause more flooding across northern Minnesota, where rivers are still running high in the wake of recent rain and snowmelt. A flood watch is in effect from the Red River Valley east to Duluth and the North Shore.
Find forecast updates on MPR Weather’s Updraft blog.
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