MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Heavy rains and hail Saturday morning greeted the legions of fans waiting to buy the latest book in the Harry Potter series.
About 500 adults and children, many in costume, lined the boulevard outside Wild Rumpus bookstore to buy the book.
Some fans braved the brutal storms, that caused flooding and knocked out power around the Twin Cities, for several hours for a chance to purchase ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.''
Danielle Thompson, 15, Minneapolis, said she just had to dress up and be a part of the Harry Potter experience.
''It's like Halloween again,'' said Thompson, who arrived at 8:30 p.m. Friday to wait in line.
Torrential rains and hail showered the crowd just minutes after the store opened its doors at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
While people slowly filed into the bookstore, some huddled against buildings and under awnings seeking shelter. Others steeled themselves against the elements with umbrellas and raincoats.
''It's the perfect Harry Potter night,'' said Grace Vermeer, 12, Minneapolis, who planned a sleepover with five friends to celebrate the books release.
Shortly after the store opened, as if on cue, the lights flickered and minutes later went out as a result of the storms. A few candles provided the only light.
The power outage shut down the store's cash registers, computer and credit card machine and forced employees to process transactions manually.
But few were deterred by the storm or the inconvenience, as the store did brisk business, selling about 250 of their 300 copies.
''I was surprised. I thought as soon as the lights went out people would leave,'' said Collette Morgan, owner of the Wild Rumpus. ''But they hung on to the bitter end.''
St. Paul's Red Balloon bookstore drew about 30 people for its special 7 a.m. opening Saturday morning.
Carol Erdahl, the Red Balloon's co-owner, ordered 800 copies and pre-sold 430.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.