Rural Pillager resident Wade Haapajoki was not a happy camper when he got home Wednesday.
Haapajoki said when he arrived home the power was out and the big appliances were not working even after power was restored. Haapajoki said after insurance adjusters and the electrical company inspected his home, it appeared that his home was hit by lightning.
“We had damage on our roof, it was about the size of a tennis ball,” said Haapajoki. “We talked to some of the other neighbors who also were out of power.”
Lightning also caused damage in Brainerd Wednesday, when it hit a utility pole on Eighth and Washington streets. It also may have started a structure fire on Johnson Road, located north of Brainerd.
According to Mark Mortensen of the DNR Forestry Office in Brainerd, the Brainerd airport showed that from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday, there was 1.41 inches of rain. However, Mortensen said some areas received heavier rain at times.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth, the monthly total average for May is 4.24 inches. In April, the monthly average was 3.95 inches.
No reports of storm or lightning damage was reported Thursday by law enforcement in Brainerd, Baxter, Crow Wing and surrounding counties and cities.
The NWS continued to report that for the counties of Crow Wing, Cass and Aitkin are in a hazardous weather outlook. It reports that more thunderstorms are possible Saturday through Monday, with some storms that could be severe Saturday night through Sunday night over the Northland. River levels are expected to rise over much of the northland Friday into the weekend. The Mississippi River near Aitkin is forecast to rise above flood stage this weekend.
The NWS reports that more rounds of thunderstorms are possible over the weekend for Todd and Morrison counties, as the unsettled weather pattern remains across the upper Midwest.
The NWS is forecasting showers and possibly a thunderstorm through Monday. The chance of rain on Friday is not expected until nightfall where there is a 30 percent chance of showers. Friday during the day will be partly sunny with highs of 65. There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday, with a 60 percent chance at night. Saturday’s high will be near 60s. Sunday will be warmer with a high of 77, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Monday’s high is expected to be near 71, with a slight chance of showers.
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) officials anticipated additional road closures Thursday as heavy thunderstorms redeveloped in parts of the state.
Standing water closed sections of some highways and interstates in the Twin Cities metro area during the morning commute, including I-35 and Highway 169. MnDOT says a mudslide along westbound Interstate 694 in Arden Hills restricted travel to one lane at the peak of the morning rush.
A flash flood watch remains in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday for much of central Minnesota and parts of southern Minnesota. Forecasters say thunderstorms and damaging winds are expected Thursday afternoon.
Strong winds and rain damaged a car dealership in New Ulm Wednesday. The storm blew out windows of 70 vehicles and bent flagpoles at Kohls-Weelborg Chevrolet.
(This story contained information from the Associated Press)