Strong storm knocks down trees, power lines | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Denton Newman Jr/Brainerd Dispatch
Low lying land and ditches in the Brainerd lakes area are filling up as evidenced by the water covering this property in Backus early Wednesday morning.

Strong storm knocks down trees, power lines

Flood warnings back for Mississippi River

Posted: June 19, 2012 - 3:45pm
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Heavy rain continued to fall Wednesday morning raising the levels of lakes and rivers in the Brainerd lakes area. These apartments are located along the Pine River/Norway Lake in Pine River.  Denton Newman Jr/Brainerd Dispatch
Denton Newman Jr/Brainerd Dispatch
Heavy rain continued to fall Wednesday morning raising the levels of lakes and rivers in the Brainerd lakes area. These apartments are located along the Pine River/Norway Lake in Pine River.

A powerful storm packing strong winds, hail and rain, downed trees and power lines Tuesday afternoon.

The fast-moving storm swept through northern Crow Wing County just after 1 p.m.

“We looked outside — it was just black,” said Jennifer Max, Crosslake clerk-treasurer. Sirens went off in Crosslake. A funnel cloud, which was not confirmed, was reported by County Highway 11 moving southeast.

Crosslake Police Chief Robert Hartman said the storm brought a lot of rain, pea-size hail and strong wind. Trees were down on West Shore Drive, Urban Point and County Road 103. A large tree fell on County Highway 16, blocking the road.

The police department also carried the storm warnings to a full Army Corps of Engineers Campground in Crosslake with numerous campers in tents.

Minnesota Power reported about 182 customers were without power in the Pequot Lakes area. Crews were on hand and expected power to be restored by 3:30 p.m.

All of Crow Wing Power’s crews were working to restore power to about 600 people scattered in the Crosslake and Emily areas. Trees were also reported down in Aitkin County near McGregor.

The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a hazardous weather outlook Tuesday with more storms expected in the afternoon and into the night. Storms have the potential to be severe with large hail, damaging wind and a possible tornado was not ruled out. The weather service reported the threat is highest near Mille Lacs and east and northeast to Wisconsin.

Southern Cass, Crow Wing and southern Aitkin counties remain under a flash flood watch through Wednesday afternoon. Scattered thunderstorms and heavy downpours remain possible as multiple storms track through covering the same saturated ground.

A flood warning was reissued for the Mississippi River near Brainerd, Fort Ripley and Aitkin. Heavy rain, possibly up 3-5 inches through Wednesday raised the flooding forecast severity from minor to moderate in a Mississippi River basin already running with high water levels, the weather service reported.

The Mississippi River near Brainerd was at 11.7 feet as of Tuesday morning. Flood stage is 13 feet. The river previously crested at 14. 2 feet on May 30.

At Fort Ripley, the river level was 8.4 feet Tuesday and it’s expected to rise above the 10-foot flood stage to nearly 11 feet by Monday, causing minor flooding in rural areas. The river reached a crest of 11.7 feet May 31.

In Aitkin, the river was already slightly above the 12-foot flood stage by 2 p.m. Tuesday and it is forecast to climb to 16.3 feet by June 23 before it begins to drop again.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.