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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Twin Cities Struggle Through Second Night of Severe Weather; 2 Confirmed Dead

After being battered by torrential rains and strong winds the night before, the Twin Cities were spared a second round of intense thunderstorms Thursday evening.

According to National Weather Service data from Holman Field airport downtown, a storm system that slammed across the western part of Minnesota mainly avoided the metro to the north, leaving St. Paul free of measurable precipitation as of 9 p.m.

It was a far cry from the storms that brought isolated floods, felled trees, and power outages on Wednesday night.

However, elsewhere in Minnesota, Thursday’s storm produced significant damage as it moved northeast from South Dakota, with at least two tornadoes reported in Cass and Otter Tail counties.

According to the NWS, a grain bin was blown down into an automobile in Kandiyohi County, killing one person.

In the time between the two storm systems, the Twin Cities set a new day high temperature record, with 92 degrees recorded at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport shortly before 6 p.m.

The storm’s leading edge passed over the western suburbs around 7 p.m., sparking intermittent tornado warnings across the Twin Cities. The NWS verified that an EF-0 tornado had touched down in Coon Rapids. By 9 p.m., the worst of the storm had moved into Wisconsin.

In the remainder of the metro, wind gusts reached 80 mph, with a 77 mph gust reported in Shakopee and the doors of a Target store in Roseville being blown out.

Trees were blown down and electrical wires were damaged by the strong winds. Xcel Energy said that disruptions impacted 200,000 customers in the Twin Cities region during the storm on Wednesday night. At 9 p.m. Thursday, about 9,000 people were still without power, the majority of whom were in Hennepin County.

The storm also brought heavy rain and big hailstones, some up to 2 inches in diameter, to the city. Several locations have reported flooded roadways and parking garages. At MSP Airport, a new day record of 1.94 inches of rain was set.

There were no fatalities or significant injuries recorded in the metro.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a meteorologist from Mexico was killed when she and other storm chasers collided on Interstate 90 near Worthington in southern Minnesota.

When a big truck struck Martha Llanos Rodriguez, 30, of Mexico City, she was a passenger in a car that had stopped to avoid hitting wires from broken power lines. Bradford Barrett, 42, of Annapolis, Md., was a second passenger who suffered life-threatening injuries.

Two additional passengers in the automobile, as well as the driver of another vehicle that collided with the fell wires, sustained non-life threatening injuries. Diego Campos, a Chilean meteorologist, was among those injured.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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