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Published June 22, 2013, 10:59 AM

Strong storms target Twin Cities, knock out power

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Twin Cities lost power after strong storms packing high winds raked the area.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Twin Cities lost power after strong storms packing high winds raked the area.

About 247,000 customers are without electricity, Xcel Energy said Saturday. The company said its electrical transmission and distribution system was severely damaged by the one-two punch of weather that moved through on Friday morning and evening.

Hennepin County Emergency Management Director Eric Waage said Friday night that he saw "quite a few large trees down." And the National Weather Service said a wind gust measuring 69 mph was reported just before 8 p.m. in Crystal in the northern Twin Cities.

"The level of power outages caused by this succession of storms is one of the highest we've ever faced," Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power-Minnesota, said in a news release.

At the outage's height, more than 475,000 Xcel Energy customers were affected, the company said. Crews from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Colorado are helping to restore power, Xcel Energy said, as well as utility workers from other parts of the Midwest.

Showers and thunderstorms are in the Twin Cities' forecast through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

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