Wind gusts reach 85 mph in Swift County

3:19 PM, Jun 21, 2013   |    comments
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A line of severe storms swept across much of central Minnesota in the early morning hours Friday, just in time for the first several hours of summer.

Impressive wind gusts were picked up by several small airports along the way. Benson picked up an 85 mph wind gust at 1:33 a.m.

Swift County Sheriff John Holtz says Benson and Swift Falls were the hardest hit areas with strong winds, rain and hail Friday morning.  In an email, Holtz says, "Many homes, out buildings and trees were damaged due to the high winds."

Holtz says Benson was without power for most of the night but it was restored by 8 a.m. for some areas.  Many are still without power.

Part of a rain elevator blew off in Danvers and landed on the railroad tracks according to Holtz.

Buffalo experienced up to 66 to 73 mph wind gusts as well. While below severe criteria, wind gusts of 55 mph were picked up in Eden Prairie and 47 mph at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The City of St. Cloud Police Department reports that there is wide spread damage caused by severe storms earlier this morning. There were reports of power lines down and power outages. The public is being warned to stay away from downed power lines and fallen trees. Some traffic control lights are out and emergency personnel are responding.

With the saturated ground, even less than 60 mph winds were enough to down many trees and create power outages for thousands.

As impressive as the wind were some of the rainfall amounts. Generally 1 to 2 inches of rain fell across the metro in a short period of time, but as much as 4.20 inches of rain fell in Long Praire, with 3.73 inches picked up in Little Falls.

With more heavy rainfall possible in additional weekend storms, trees will become even more vulnerable to strong wind gusts.

We will see some clearing for the middle of the day Friday with temperatures once again heating up and allowing for a few more thunderstorms to develop later this afternoon/evening into the overnight.

Any storms that do develop could turn strong to severe. Minnesota is once again under a 'slight risk' of severe storms from the Storm Prediction Center.

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