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Memorial Day Storms Leave Massive Damage, Thousands Without Power

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Two rounds of severe storms struck Minnesota on Memorial Day, with the second round bringing hurricane-force winds and some possible tornadoes.

The wind toppled power lines across the state, causing more than 70,000 reports of power outages across Minnesota.

One unconfirmed tornado struck the small town of Forada, located about 10 miles south of Alexandria. Douglas County Emergency Manager Julie Anderson tells WCCO-TV that the storm damaged an estimated 100 structures, but luckily no one was killed, and there were no major injuries reported.

The worst of the damage in Forada is along Forada Beach, hugging the shoreline of Maple Lake.

Communities closer to the metro did not escape damage from the second storm system. For the Twin Cities region, it was the wind that caused the most damage and power outages.

WCCO-TV crews saw lots of down trees and debris in the roads, and some storm drains in Orono were overflowing at one point.

As fast as it came, the storm was gone, and people were out assessing the damage. The Bren family in Montrose said they lost power and had branches fall on their home, but luckily it didn't sustain major damage.

"It's so windy lately that this is kind of typical, unfortunately. But this, this is intense," said Stephanie Bren. "They did say the storm was going to get bad, but it looked so nice out so I didn't think it'd be too bad."

The widespread storms that hit much of the state Monday morning featured heavy rain and damaging winds, downing dozens of trees in communities like Marshall and St. Cloud. Officials in Marshall believe the damage was caused by straight-line winds of nearly 70 mph.

WCCO's Pauleen Le was in St. Cloud where crews spent much of the morning removing a tree that fell onto a power line, knocking out power to a neighborhood at Fifth Street SE and Wilson Avenue SE.

"Lots and lots of wind and lots of rain," said Henry Padgett who lives in that neighborhood.

Padgett said it was a rude awakening at about 4:45 a.m. when the power went out.

"There were about three booms and then you could see the sparks on the powerline," he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the website PowerOutage.US shows that nearly 31,000 Minnesota residents are still without power.

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