Storm blows through area

FAIRMONT – Fairmont didn’t suffer the damage some parts of the state saw from the storm that rolled in late Friday, but it was a busy cleanup weekend nonetheless for residents, city crews and tree specialists.

The thunderstorm marked the start of summer with a bang. Winds of 46 mph blew through the Fairmont area in the early hours of Saturday, reaching gusts up to 53 mph, accompanied by about 2 inches of rain, according to

John Thate with Thate’s Tree Service had his crews out all day Saturday, and plenty of work remains to be done.

“We did some incredibly difficult stuff. … It was an adrenaline rush,” he said, describing downed trees that had fallen on houses. “… Situations that require some more technical expertise to get [trees] down without damaging property or people.”

The winds were strong enough to snap off what appeared to be structurally sound branches, Thate said, but many of the trees that fell were already structurally compromised or damaged before the storm. The weekend winds were just the final nail in the coffin.

“Some of these particular trees I had advised customers to do something about them,” Thate said. “… With God’s help, we made them believers.”

It will take weeks to clear away all the debris from Friday’s storm, which was further compounded by another bout of bad weather Saturday night.

Not all the damage is easy to survey, Thate warned, since downed tree limbs are easy to spot, but broken branches hanging overhead are less obvious.

“People won’t even notice some of the stuff if they don’t look up,” he said.

While local residents experienced brief power outages from the storm, parts of the Twin Cities were still without electricity Sunday evening, the Associated Press reported.

Xcel Energy crews worked through the weekend to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers. More than 500,000 of the utility’s customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin were affected at the height of the power outages, and 89,000 customers remained without power early Sunday evening, Xcel Energy said.