Storm knocks out phones in Bemidjiby Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
BEMIDJI, Minn. — The National Weather Service is reporting that storms moving across northern Minnesota with 70 mile-per-hour winds have downed trees in the north-central part of the state.
Authorities in Bemidji are asking residents to travel only for emergencies after a severe thunderstorm caused widespread damage and knocked out most phone service in the city.
People in the storm's path should take shelter, said meteorologist Pete Speicher.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks says a severe storm passed through the northwestern Minnesota city shortly after 7 p.m. today. Speicher says preliminary reports are sketchy, but says the storm caused "numerous and significant tree damage" and also knocked down many telephone lines.
Other communities in its path included Grand Rapids and Itasca.
"We're getting widespread reports from the Lake Itasca up to the Bemidji area and Bagley as well, of anywhere from 70-80 mile per hour winds, lots and lots of trees down, with several roads that have closed due to fallen timber over the road," he said.
Speicher says the Weather Service issued the travel advisory at the request of Beltrami County Emergency Management. Calls to the local police and sheriff's office did not go through Monday evening.
High heat helped set up unstable conditions for the storm, he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.