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STORM ROUNDUP: 2 deaths reported as storms with hurricane-force winds sweep across Minnesota, South Dakota

More than 70,000 homes and businesses remained without power across the region early Friday as damage assessment and cleanup continued after the second straight night of widespread severe weather.

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Storm clouds hover over Birch Avenue in Milton, Minnesota, on Thursday evening, May 12, 2022, in this submitted photo. Severe thunderstorms surged through Minnesota and South Dakota on Thursday, causing widespread damage and fatalities.
Contributed / Emily Notch
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ST. PAUL -- At least two people died as severe storms packing winds in excess of 100 miles per hour swept across eastern South Dakota and much of western and central Minnesota on Thursday.

One person died near Blomkest, Minn., south of Willmar. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to a home at about 7 p.m. Thursday "about a missing adult male in the area of where a large grain bin had just blown over by storms."

"Emergency responders arrived and began a search which eventually led to the discovery of the deceased man under the collapsed grain bin," the sheriff's office reported in a news release. The man's name has not been released.

The Argus Leader reported at least one person died in Sioux Falls, S.D., as storms moved through that area. KELO-TV reported there also were people critically injured as the storms moved through South Dakota.

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A boat overturned, a garage collapsed and trees went through a house on South Lake Darling Drive in Alexandria, Minnesota. A storm hit Douglas County shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press

More than 70,000 homes and businesses remained without power across the region early Friday as damage assessment and cleanup continued after the second straight night of widespread severe weather.

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The National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities said it was sending two survey teams to western Minnesota to assess the damage — including whether any of it may have been caused by tornadoes.

Hurricane-force winds

There were several reports of funnel clouds and possible tornadoes on Thursday — including one near Pillager in central Minnesota, and another at Castlewood in eastern South Dakota.

But widespread, hurricane-force straight-line winds appear to have caused most of the damage.

A weather station at Tripp, S.D. — southwest of Sioux Falls — reported a wind gust of 107 mph as storms moved through Thursday afternoon.

A 102 mph wind gust was reported near Gary, S.D. — near the Minnesota state line. Wind gusts of 94 mph were reported at the airport in Madison, Minn., as well as at Verndale, Minn., in Wadena County, on Thursday evening. A weather station at Alexandria, Minn., reported an 87 mph gust.

Those winds picked up dirt from farm fields, creating a dust cloud as the storm front swept across eastern South Dakota and into western Minnesota. Ominous, rolling shelf clouds rolled across much of the state.

The winds caused widespread damage to buildings, power lines and trees across the region.

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A fallen tree crashed into this boat in Verndale, Minnesota, on Thursday, May 12, 2022, as a powerful storm ripped through the area.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

A dispatch to the National Weather Service on Thursday night from near Long Prairie in Todd County, Minn., reported "house fine, shed and barn missing at the moment. Trees and power lines down all over the county."

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Airplane hangers were damaged at the airport in Morris, Minn.

A spotter report from Chokio, Minn., noted "power poles snapped at base, live wires, 3.5 feet in circumference trees snapped and on houses."

Building damage also was reported in Osakis, Alexandria and Holloway, among other Minnesota communities.

The strong winds also overturned semis along Interstate 94 near Alexandria, forcing a closure of the eastbound lanes. The freeway has since reopened — though there are ongoing reports of flooding covering some roads in central and western Minnesota due to heavy rain.

Heavy rain also was reported in northeast Minnesota, where a flood warning is now in effect until next Tuesday for the North Shore as rivers are running extremely high.

The National Weather Service says 1 to 2 inches of rain fell overnight, adding to rivers already swollen by past rainfall and snowmelt. River gauges along the North Shore are showing a sharp uptick in water levels, and Cook County is reporting some washouts along county roads.

Authorities are asking residents and visitors along the North Shore to use extra caution around the fast-moving water.

Flood warnings also continue in the Rainy River basin along the Canadian border, and in the Red River valley.

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The Twin Cities metro area — which was hit hard by severe storms on Wednesday night — was largely spared by Thursday night’s storms. Winds gusted to 53 mph at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as storms moved through late Thursday.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTASOUTH DAKOTA
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