Heavy winds do damage around Farmington
FARMINGTON - A storm one resident described as "a wall of wind" left many residents with toppled trees, damaged homes and crushed cars Tuesday morning.
The storm hit around 4 a.m. Tuesday with straight-line winds that snapped large branches off of some trees and tore others up by the roots, sending them over onto rooftops, garages and automobile. The powerful winds also did damage on their own, in one case demolishing a backyard shed.
The storm produced nickel-size hail in some areas and winds up to 75 miles per hour.
Damage appears to have been worst along Main and Elm streets in downtown Farmington and in the area of 191st Street and Everest Path.
Farmington resident Justine Jacobson was awakened around 3:30 a.m. by her weather radio. She watched from her garage as branches started to snap and debris started flying. That's when she ran inside to get her kids into the basement.
"The whole entire house shivered and shook," she said. "It was terrifying."
There were several trees down near Jacobson's home. Kids from the nearby Anna's Bananas preschool came over later in the morning to help pick up sticks.
Conditions were similarly frightening on Main Street.
"It sounded like a tornado coming," said Sandi Tucker, who lives on Main Street. "The wind was blowing and trees were snapping.
"It was loud and it was bright and it was busy."
Tucker and her neighbors said transformers on nearby power lines were sparking. They lost power during the storm and still hadn't gotten it back by 9 a.m.
A falling tree crushed Tucker's car, which was parked behind her house. The wind also uprooted a tree across the alley at Dan Rudiger's house. He had left for work already when the storm hit, but he returned home early Tuesday to find a large tree had smashed part of his deck and a shed in the back yard. Because the tree's canopy was thick it was not immediately clear whether the tree had damaged his house.
A block west on Elm Street Wendy Pryor heard the storm as it raged outside and tried to get her family somewhere safe. Branches from a falling tree punctured her roof in two places and broke joists in her attic.
"It was terrible craziness, wind sounds," she said. "I don't even know how to describe it when it hit the house."
Farmington public works crews started working around 6 a.m. after receiving reports of trees down. City workers were chipping up a downed tree along Main Street around 9 a.m. That project was delayed for a while because when the tree snapped a honeycomb crawling with bees was exposed.
Todd Reiten said he continued to find damage as he drove around town.
Farmington residents can put brush and other debris out for city pickup through Wednesday, June 27. Brush should be placed at the curb in small pieces.
According to Dakota Electric, there were widespread power outages around its system as a result of the storm. As of 11:30 Tuesday there were still approximately 1,300 homes without power, down from more than 10,000. It could take 24 to 48 hours to restore power to everyone. The electric co-op is calling in assistance from other cooperatives.