Friday night storms rip through metro, strip power from residents

Xcel Energy crews worked to restore power to 240,000 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin after Friday night's storms, and as of Saturday night, 60,851 outages were reported in Minnesota, and just 506 in Wisconsin. TAP TO VIEW PHOTOS

"The storms did significant damage to our system and we ask our customers for patience as we work to restore service," said Laura McCarten, Xcel Energy regional vice president. "Be assured that we are devoting all resources to this effort and our crews will work in 16 hour shifts until all customers have been restored."

Downed power lines and outages should be reported to 1-800-895-1999

Confirmed EF-1 tornado in Carver County

A line of severe storms barreled into the metro starting around 11:30 Friday night, bringing strong winds, blinding rains and wicked lightning. Tens of thousands were left without power, trees and roofs were damaged in several cities throughout the metro. 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.

Spotters and radar indicated the tornado 4 miles SSW of Watertown. By 3 a.m., between 50 and 60 emergency personnel were in the area to assess the damage. 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. 

Throughout the rest of the metro, lightning strikes started house fires in Bloomington and Minneapolis. Strong winds of between 50-60 miles per hour brought down trees and power lines in at least a half dozen other cities.