Lightning strikes led to two home fires in Crow Wing County and a tornado caused damage in Wadena County after thunderstorms rumbled through the area late Thursday and early Friday.
At 12:55 a.m. Friday, the Crosby Fire Department was dispatched to an Irondale Township home on the 19900 block of Lound Road. Crosby Fire Chief Chuck Leonhardt said homeowners heard the crash of the lightning strike and could smell smoke. No one was injured.
Leonhardt said the damage to the home came from the lightning strike, smoke and water, but the home was still inhabitable. Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour and a half. The home is owned by James and Cheryl Koop.
The Brainerd Fire Department responded to fire in Baxter at 11:10 p.m. Thursday in the 12500 block of Camwood Trail. The garage was destroyed in the fire and part of the home was damaged, the fire department reported. The home is owned by John and Sharon Hurley.
High winds snapped off a large tree Friday in the 100 block of Fourth Avenue Northeast. No injuries were reported.
Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls
Fire crews were at the site until nearly 2 a.m. and returned to the home just after 8 a.m. Friday after a report of smoldering smoke at the scene. No one was injured.
In Wadena County, a tornado touchdown was reported at 9:30 a.m. Friday, with structural damage reported to a turkey farm north of Menagha, just south of Park Rapids. The Wadena Sheriff's Department was assessing damage, but had no reports of injuries to residents. Tornado touchdowns in neighboring Hubbard County destroyed homes near Park Rapids.
Additionally, trees were reported down, obstructing roads in Morrison and Crow Wing counties. A large tree damaged a home in Brainerd when it fell at the 100 block of Fourth Street Northeast.
Beyond the wind, Thursday's storm brought a downpour. Mark Mortenson, DNR program forester in Brainerd, said the automated equipment at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport reported 2.2 inches of rain as of 8 a.m. Friday. Most of that fell during a two-hour time frame during Thursday's storm, with small amounts collected for an additional five hours.
Crow Wing, Aitkin, Cass and Wadena counties were in a tornado watch Friday morning, meaning conditions were favorable for severe weather. Strong winds whipped through the area along with low clouds and additional rain, often in a steady mist, on Friday. By late Friday afternoon, the weather warning in central Minnesota was downgraded to a wind advisory.
The forecast calls for weather to warm into the 70s for the coming work week. But the chance for showers and thunderstorms continues each day through Friday.
While spring hasn't been particularly kind, with cloudy, cool and wet weather and now swarms of mosquitoes, perhaps summer - which officially begins June 20 - will offer the relief of consecutive days of sunshine.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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