Xcel Energy hopes to have nearly all power restored Sunday

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

50,000 in Twin Cities still without power, Xcel says.

A company spokeswoman says as of mid-afternoon Sunday, the number of customers without service was down to about 19,000, mostly in the western Twin Cities. MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands are still without power in Minnesota more than a day after severe weather caused damage to power lines and outages across parts of the state.Some of the 6,000 campers at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in the town of Union west of Eau Claire reported heavy lightning and pounding rain around 2 a.m.

Most Minnesotans who have been without power since severe storms rolled through the metro area this weekend should have power restored by midnight Sunday, Xcel Energy says. The line of thunderstorms hit Minnesota and Wisconsin late Friday night, bringing frequent lightning, heaving rain and damaging winds, which knocked out power to about 240,000 customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, Xcel Energy notes. Paul is dealing with terrible damage from what Friday’s storm left behind. “I was like, ‘Woah, woah, I did not know wind could be that strong to knock down a whole tree.’ I was surprised,” the 11-year-old birthday boy, Elliot Kramer, said. But it says all available crews were in the field Saturday, comprising around 650 people from Xcel, its contractors and partners who were working 16-hour shifts.

The company says it expects to reduce the outages to 40,000 customers by late Saturday, and restore service to 95 percent of them by the end of the day Sunday, but some of the hardest-hit areas won’t get power back until Monday. Some residents had received false text messages from Xcel Energy suggesting power would be restored earlier, but Xcel officials said there was a glitch, plus, the outage numbers on their website have been inaccurate.

About 650 staff members have been working nonstop around the clock to restore all the power. “This is the worst time to have a power outage with extreme temperatures such as what we’re experiencing,” said Laura McCarten, Xcel Energy regional vice president. The Minneapolis Fire Department also reported its crews worked to remove fallen trees, extinguish trees on fire, and respond to reports of blown transformers. Of the 10,000 apple trees on the orchard, more than half were destroyed, Terri Traen, a radio personality on KQRS who also runs the orchard, wrote on Facebook.

The worst of the damage appears to be in Carver County, where the National Weather Service confirms an EF-1 tornado with a wind speed of around 105 miles per hour touched down near Watertown. The Carver County Sheriff’s Department established a command post near Highway 7 and County Road 33, responding to numerous reports of tree and roof damage and some so-far unconfirmed reports of cars flipped over.

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