Thunderstorms and tornado activity ripped through the St. Cloud metro area this evening.

Stearns County Emergency Management Director Marv Klug says there have been no reports of serious injuries so far.  The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department is also reporting no injuries so far.  But, there’s widespread damage throughout the county.

Klug says the towns around St. Cloud are returning to normal as of 9:00 p.m.  However, street crews are still clearing debris in St. Cloud.  It appears the hospital neighborhood was among the hardest hit.  Klug says from Hester Park to 22nd Avenue, and from the downtown area northward, has a lot of tree damage.  There are some reports of structural damage, but those reports are not widespread.  Red Cross volunteers are going house to house right now getting a more specific estimate of the damaged areas.

Klug is asking the public to stay home — emergency crews are having trouble making their way around all the gawkers.

Klug says there was a confirmed tornado touchdown near Rockville.  Residents in that area report hearing a train-like sound.

The damage in the St. Cloud metro area was most likely caused by straight-line winds.  Several reports from listeners of street flooding, large hail, downed trees, and power outages.

Xcel Energy is reporting about 19,000 customers in the Central Minnesota area are without power at about 8:00 p.m.

East Central Energy reports about 6,300 of their customers are without power at 8:30 p.m.  They estimate 24-26 hours before power can be fully restored to all of their customers.

There were reports of flooding on Highway 10 in east St. Cloud, which backed up traffic during the storm, the State Patrol says by 8:00 p.m. the flood waters had receded and traffic was flowing once again.

McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews says the roof was torn off a Hutchinson animal medical center, and two semis were blown off highways.

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