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Some Bemidji area residents still lack power

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI - Power company crews continued to work on restoring power to the Bemidji area Wednesday as another storm rolled through the northern part of the county, knocking out power to about 1,500 customers.

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Both Otter Tail Power Company and Beltrami Electric had crews out in full force on the Fourth of July holiday.

As of early Wednesday evening, less than 200 residents in the Bemidji and Cass Lake areas were still without power, Cris Kling, Otter Tail's director of public relations, said. The company hoped to only have 50 residents without power by Wednesday night.

Kling said some of the residents would need to have an electrician complete repairs before power could be restored.

Beltrami Electric brought in crews from neighboring cooperatives to help restore power to the area Wednesday.

Beltrami Electric spokesman Mitch Raile said they had been down to about 3,000 accounts that were without power, but a storm passed through the northern part of the county early Wednesday afternoon, knocking out another 1,500 accounts.

"We're focusing on restoring power down in the southern part of the county," Raile said. "We'll get out to that Red Lake, Washkish, Turtle River and Kelliher area (today) at some point."

Raile said Beltrami Electric is hoping the rest of its customers will have power restored today but warned that some may be without power until Friday.

As for the extent of the damage in the area from Monday night's storm, Chris Muller, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management assistant director, joined the Minnesota State Patrol for an aerial assessment by helicopter of the damage Tuesday evening.

The view from the air showed widespread wind damage across the southern edge of Beltrami County, stretching along Highway 2 into northern Hubbard and Cass counties, according to a press release.

Widespread wind damage was observed, primarily to trees along with some roof damage. Some mobile homes in the Bemidji area were also shifted off their foundations, Muller wrote in the press release.

A heavier pocket of damage approximately a mile wide stretched from the southwest corner of Beltrami County to southern Bemidji Township and continued east into Cass County. Muller noted the primary damage was in a west to east lay down fashion, indicating this was a non-tornadic event.

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