A severe thunderstorm ripped through the Brainerd lakes area Tuesday morning, tearing apart trees, damaging a few buildings and leaving more than 9,000 without electricity.
About 5 a.m. a narrow line of powerful thunderstorms moved into the area from the west, said Andy Tingler, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth. As the storms organized winds aloft about 1,000 feet up came soaring toward the ground, he said, reaching speeds of up to 80 mph on Doppler radar.
No injuries were reported.
"It stayed in about two counties at a time. It was not really that wide or long, but it was pretty intense," Tingler said of the thunderstorm. "Anytime you have winds between 80 and 90 mph it's pretty strong and it's going to do damage."
Tingler said nothing indicated the storm produced a tornado. Brainerd received 1.19 inches of rain from the storm, said Al Sharp, forestry technician at the DNR's Brainerd office.
Throughout Brainerd, leaves and tree limbs were scattered across city streets and there were reports of trees down in city neighborhoods. A falling tree and power line landed atop two cars on Fir Street, the Brainerd Police Department reported.
In addition to hundreds of trees, power lines across Crow Wing County were damaged by the storm, leaving more than 9,000 without power for part of Tuesday morning, Crow Wing Power and Brainerd Public Utilities reported.
Crow Wing County Sheriff's Lt. Neal Gaalswyk said aside from reports of trees down, power outages and tripped security alarms his department had no reports of extensive property damage.
"It really came through," Gaalswyk said. "At 5 a.m. I woke and came outside and said, 'I really don't want to have to figure this out.'"
In Morrison County, the National Weather Service reported two hangars, a maintenance garage and the terminal building were damaged at the Little Falls/Morrison County Airport by winds gusting up to 78 mph. A large tree also fell on a truck at the airport, the weather service reported.
Several trees also were felled near Farm Island Lake in western Aitkin County, Sheriff Scott Turner said, and highway crews spent most of Tuesday cleaning up the mess left by the storm. However, Turner said there were no reports of property damage caused by the storm.
"It's fortunate no one got hurt, we feel very fortunate of that fact," Turner said.
In Cass County near Gull Lake, the National Weather Service reported a barn and a tin shed in addition to many trees were blown down by the high winds. Sheriff Randy Fisher also said there was a report of a house being struck by lightning near Cass Lake, but no one was injured.
"We were fortunate this time," Fisher said.
Sharp said his office received several telephone calls Tuesday from people in southern Crow Wing County seeking special permits to burn the downed trees on their property. Even with the rain Sharp said fires could spread and need to be attended.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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