Late night storm leaves a mess | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo by Deb gau Mike Vlaminck climbs a ladder to help remove broken windows from a building he owns in Ghent. Vlaminck said storm debris shattered the window on Tuesday evening

A storm packing powerful high winds rolled into the area late Tuesday night and flattened a steel shed used by the Marshall Public Schools Vocational and Technical Training Center.

The fast-moving storm also toppled tree limbs across the region.

Dion Caron, director of business services for MPS, said the district uses the building, located near U.S. Highway 59 north in Marshall, for equipment storage.

“We didn’t have much in this building,” he said. But MPS had also hoped the building could be used to teach building trades at some point in the future.

Caron said MPS contacted his insurance company and initiated a claim for the hangar. Once some of the debris has been lifted, the district will be able to check the material stored there.

“We were lucky that the other buildings on this property were not damaged,” Caron said. The district’s plans for the CTE center include renovating existing buildings for their welding and certified practical nurse programs.

Severe thunderstorms that rolled through southern Minnesota on Tuesday evening brought winds that ranged between 50 and 80 miles per hour, according to reports collected by the National Weather Service. Around 10:05 p.m., a gust of 65 miles per hour was reported in Minneota. At 10:08 a.m., Marshall Airport recorded a gust of 75 miles per hour.

In Gent, near Minnesota Highway 68, Mike Vlaminck was on a ladder, removing broken pieces of the front window of a building he and his wife owned.

“It was storm debris” who broke the window, Vlaminck said. Vlaminck said a tree also fell on top of a power line in the driveway behind the building.

Storm damage in the area included reports of downed tree limbs, said Amber Scholten, director of emergency management for Lincoln County.

“In Lake Benton, we had a tree on a power line. I haven’t heard of many (damaged) structures yet” Scholten said. Scholten stopped in Ghent on Wednesday morning to see if the community needed help after the storm.

Marshall doesn’t appear to have been hit as hard by the high winds, although Marshall Parks Superintendent Preston Stensrud said two of the tents that were set up at Independence Park for National Night Out were destroyed by the storm.

“There were a lot of branches and limbs down,” Stensrud said.

High winds on Tuesday evening also caused power outages in southern Minnesota. Residents of Ghent said their power went out for a few hours on Tuesday evening.

Xcel Energy spokespersons said about 135,000 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin were affected by overnight power outages and more than 70% had restored power as of Wednesday morning. Situations that threatened public safety, such as live wires, are given priority when restoring power, Xcel said in a press release.

High temperatures and another chance of thunderstorms are still forecast for the Marshall area this week, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. A daytime high of 97 degrees is forecast for Friday, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday night. On Saturday, there is a 60% chance of showers, and possibly a thunderstorm, the NWS said.

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