21 Aug 2014
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UPDATE: Storm Causes Extensive Damage, Power Outages in Lakeville

Trees were downed and homes damaged throughout Lakeville Tuesday morning by a strong storm that also knocked out power to large swaths of town.

Share with us your storm photos! Either email them to me at derrick.williams@patch.com, or simply upload them to this article.

Thanks to an early morning severe storm, there's hardly a neighborhood in Lakeville that doesn't have trees toppled, or at the very least, large branches hugging power lines.

In other places, barns and homes were damaged, vehicles crushed under trees, and at Airlake Airport, planes were flipped and destroyed.

In what is shaping up to be one of the worst wind-damage events in recent memory, Lakeville was hammered by what the National Weather Service says were straight-line winds in excess of 75 miles per hour when the storm hit around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Parts of downtown Lakeville are still cut-off with roadways blocked with felled trees—some of which are the diameter of a kitchen table. When they fell, they dragged power lines with them, knocking out electrical services to thousands around town.

Chris Petree, Lakeville's director of operations and maintenance, said numerous neighborhoods suffered extensive wind damage as a result of the storm, but acknowledged that most of Lakeville has suffered some wind damage.

The wost hit areas include the Dodd Park neighborhood, west of Flagstaff, which had roads blocked and a significant number of large trees downed. In downtown Lakeville, trees were also toppled, and Petree said power lines are down as well. Finally, an area south of Lake Marion, near Jaquard Avenue and 205th Street West was also hit hard.

Beyond tree damage, along the eastern side of Cedar Avenue, a large barn was destroyed by the wind, pieces of the structure being scattered across the road and into neighboring farm fields.

City crews have been out since 5 a.m. assessing damage and providing initial emergency response to remove trees from roadways, according to a city news release.

In addition to damage, Xcel Energy estimates 1,344 customers in Lakeville are without power, and Dakota Electric reports the number of Lakeville customers without power to be in the thousands. It could take a couple days to restore, according to a release issued by Dakota Electric.

Standing outside her home along Finch Avenue, just east of Flagstaff Avenue in northeast Lakeville, Erica Sweeny, 18, said the storm damage was the worst she's seen in her life.

"I woke up to the storm. The thunder was intense, then all of a sudden it started to roar outside," she said of the storm. "But there weren't sirens. I swear there weren't."

Tracy Holland had a similar story, telling Patch on Facebook there were no sirens in her neighborhood in northern Lakeville either.

The city of Lakeville acknowledged the sirens did not sound before or during the storm, saying in a press release: "Activation of warning sirens in Dakota County is the responsibility of the Dakota Communications Center. In Lakeville, sirens did not sound during the storm. All sirens are in working order and the City is therefore working with DCC to investigate why they were not activated."

Petree said he's not sure how long cleanup will take.

There's no timetable for restoration of downed lines.

will have more on this story.

AS FOR CLEANING UP:

From the city of Lakeville: "Once roads are clear, Public Works crews will begin to address cleanup of debris. The City and its contractors will be using heavy equipment to remove brush, trees, and vegetative material within the right-or-way that is placed at the curb. Small branches and leaves should be treated as normal yard waste and disposed of in a manner that would typically be done by the homeowner. City crews will begin to remove brush and debris after all roadways are clear and other priority work is complete. If possible, please have them placed curbside by Monday, June 25. Pickup is for vegetation only, no construction debris."

OTHER TIPS FROM THE CITY

  • If you have downed wires in your yard, stay away and call your electric provider immediately: Dakota Electric Association: 651-463-6212; Xcel Energy: 800-895-4999.
  • If you have downed boulevard trees, report them by calling 952-985-2711 or go to the City website at www.lakevillemn.gov and the City will respond as able.
  • If you have trees downed in your yard from this storm, these are the responsibility of the homeowner. Insurance may cover the cost of having a tree service clear and haul away the trees. A list of licensed tree service providers is available on the City website.
  • If you choose to remove trees or stumps yourself left by this storm, you may bring them to the curbside and the City will haul them away. Before pulling up any stumps, please call Gopher State One Call emergency at 866-640-3637 to locate any utilities in your yard. 
  • Call your insurance company if you have damage to your home. 

Share with us your storm photos! Either email them to me at derrick.williams@patch.com, or simply upload them to this article.

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