Brainerd, Minnesota twisted by storms, raceway in pieces

A hot and humid day gave way to strong storms that developed in western Minnesota on Sunday, rocking the state with lightning damage and downed trees. TAP TO VIEW PHOTOS

A Tornado Watch was issued until 1 a.m. in central Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro as winds gusted between 60 and 80 miles per hour in the Brainerd area, the National Weather Service reported. Storms hit the metro before 11 p.m., but arguably, the hardest-hit areas spanned from Fergus Falls to Brainerd. The Brainerd International Raceway was in a pile of metal on Monday with bleachers twisted and roofs blown off the press box and maintenance garage.

Gallery: More Minnesota storm photos

Crow Wing County report

Sheriff's officials in Crow Wing County said the storm began to move through the Brainerd Lakes area at approximately 7:25 p.m., with primary damage being reported on the west side of Crow Wing County from Baxter to Pequot Lakes.

"Several thousand residents were left, and still remain without power. Numerous roads were left impassable, and are still treacherous due to downed trees and power lines," the sheriff's office said.

Video: Damage on east side of Gull Lake

Two public service announcements were broadcast during the storm asking residents to only call 911 for emergencies, and not to report power outages and downed trees, but dispatch was inundated with calls nonetheless. Travel was not advised Sunday night, but crews worked Monday to restore power and open roads to travelers and commuters.

No EMS calls for injuries were reported from the storm.

The sheriff's office warned cabin owners to be aware of downed power lines when returning to the area and to contact the power company if downed power lines are located.

135 campers sent home

Power was wiped from the Legionville Safety Patrol Camp on Sunday, and while all campers were reported safe, all 135 were sent home on Monday because due to the power outage.

The camp is located on North Long Lake, just north of Brainerd. About 100 large trees and several utility poles were downed by the storm and the main training building was struck by a tree and suffered some damage.

Gull Four Seasons: Worst damage so far

The owner of Gull Four Seasons Resort, on St. Columbo Road the east side of Gull Lake, was told by his insurance company that Sunday's storms produced the worst damage they've seen so far. 

Madden's also closed

Madden's Resort, on Gull Lake, told Fox 9 that the resort and the golf course will be closed for "a couple weeks" while they repair damage caused by the storm.

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