UPDATE: Gusty winds, power outages affect Northland in wake of morning stormsPower outages have affected several thousand homes in the Northland on Friday morning during and in the wake of strong thunderstorms.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Strong storms that moved across the Northland overnight and early this morning have left gusty winds and power outages in their wake.
The National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 54 mph at the Duluth airport at about 8 a.m. today.
There were numerous reports of trees and power lines down around the area during the morning hours - no doubt caused in large part by the combination of high winds and saturated ground. Many parts of the Northland saw rainfall of 2 to 4 inches from Thursday through today, with some locations seeing in excess of 5 inches of rain.
Some flooding was reported in Superior, in the Central Park area. One of the access roads to Barker's Island was closed after a culvert washed out - in the same place where a washout occurred a year ago during the historic flooding of June 2012.
Power outages have affected numerous homes in the Northland this morning. As of 8:30 a.m., News Tribune staff and readers were reporting power outages in Duluth Heights and in several Superior neighborhoods. Earlier in the morning there were outages in the Woodland, Rice Lake, Lakewood and Mahtowa areas.
The Duluth International Airport lost power for about a half-hour on Friday morning. Tom Werner, executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority, said it happened at a quiet time in the terminal’s daily schedule — no flights were delayed.
Staff fanned out through the terminal, which opened earlier this year, to make sure all systems were running normally once power was restored.
“The first test of that kind for the new building went well,” he said.
Minnesota Power spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said the utility was dealing with numerous outages scattered across its service area, all weather-related from downed trees and lines. She said repair crews would be out all day to restore service to customers.
Lake Country Power reported a peak of more than 7,000 customers without power this morning in the Grand Rapids and Kettle River areas; 4,000 of those customers had power restored by midday. Most of the problems were caused by an issue with a transmission line that cut power to two substations.
Gusty winds contributed to additional outages in the McGregor, Kettle River, Sturgeon Lake and Grand Lake areas.
Elsewhere in Minnesota
Xcel Energy reported this morning that nearly 140,000 customers are without power in central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area, following severe thunderstorms.
The company reported that about 1,500 outages were affecting about 139,600 customers before 7 a.m. Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.