Thousands still without power following storms

by Seth Woehrle

Monday’s thunderstorms and strong winds caused heavy damage to power equipment and initially left about 100,000 metro area residents without power.

As Xcel Energy crews worked overtime to repair downed lines, 17,774 customers were still without power as of Tuesday evening.

The large majority of those customers are in the western metro area, especially Edina.

“We’ve got a lot of trees on lines and broken power poles. A lot of our equipment was beat up, so it’s labor-intensive restoration work,” said Ed Legge, an Xcel spokesman. “Right now, we estimate we’ll have restored 95 percent of the power by (Wednesday) night.”

Legge said the storm wasn’t as bad as last July, when three storms pounded the Twin Cities within 36 hours.

He added that people should assume any downed power line is live and realize trees that have fallen over power lines can easily conduct electricity.

At the Eighth Street Market in Marcy-Holmes, the power went out for three hours, but store owner Jim Rosengren said his freezers stayed cold and his doors stayed open.

“Other than the fact that you could hardly see anything in here without a flashlight, it really didn’t have much of an effect,” Rosengren said.

But just a few blocks away on University Avenue, Southeast Amoco lost power for 19 hours. They couldn’t use their gas pumps until Tuesday afternoon, according to store employee Becky Dombrovske, who estimated the business lost several thousand dollars due to the storm.

The National Weather Service in Chanhassen predicted more thunderstorms for Tuesday night, some with heavy rain, hail and strong winds.

“We’re really hoping that it’ll miss us, the conditions will stay favorable, and we can continue to make ground,” said Legge.

To report downed lines or power outages, customers can call Xcel at 1-800-895-1999.


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