Severe storms cut power to 365,000 amid sweltering heat

A man pours water from a drinking fountain on his head in Washington Square Park while there is an excessive heat warning in New York City on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

July 20 (UPI) —¬†Following the derecho that produced hurricane-force wind gusts in South Dakota and southern Minnesota on Saturday morning, new incidents of damaging winds and flooding are developing across the midwestern United States.

A line of severe thunderstorms produced a continuous path of wind damage and gusts over 60 mph from South Dakota and eastward along the border of Iowa and Minnesota from the early morning to the midday hours of Saturday.

More than 365,000 power outages were reported by poweroutage.us in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan as a result of the severe weather from Friday night into Saturday.

“That meets the definition of a derecho,” stated AccWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. “The derecho and other severe thunderstorms erupting over the Midwest on Saturday are being fueled by the sweltering heat and humidity surging over a large part of the nation.”

Hurricane force wind gusts of 75 mph were reported at both Brookings, South Dakota and Windom, Minnesota. The strong winds have downed trees.

“Damaging thunderstorms were not just confined to the derecho on Saturday,” Pydynowski said. “Another cluster of severe weather led to funnel clouds being seen southwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, as heavy rain has been repeating over the same areas in northwestern Michigan. There have been radar rainfall estimates of a foot in that region.”

On Saturday morning, fast-moving floodwaters washed away a bridge that acted as the only access to about 30 houses in Kinsman, Ohio, according to WKBN.

Video taken by the Kinsman Police Department shows live power lines lying in the rushing water that runs through the area where the bridge once was, possibly downed by strong winds from the earlier storm. Radar indicates there was rainfall of 4 to 7 inches in northern Trumbull County early Saturday morning.

According to WKBN, the dam at Kinsman Lake overtopped, the water sloshing over the edge as the rain inundated the area. Kinsman Trustee Greg Leonhard told the news station that there are about 30 houses near the lake that are accessible only by the bridge.

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Water rescues were being performed Saturday afternoon as flooding persisted.

“The risk for severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours will continue to shift to the south and east through Monday as relief from the heat wave gradually arrives,” Pydynowski said.

1:30 p.m. CDT Saturday:

The town of Irons, Michigan, has been one of the areas hardest hit by flooding with water entering some buildings. There are radar estimates of a foot of rain since Friday night in the area.

Wind damage has also been reported across sections of Minnesota.

12 p.m. CDT Saturday:

More than 122,000 customers are without power in Wisconsin, and more than 200,000 customers without power in Michigan, according to poweroutage.us.

The Green Bay-Austin Straubel Airport reported wind gusts of 58 mph.

With trees down on SB I-39 between Wausau and Stevens Point, traffic is at a standstill.

11:45 a.m. CDT Saturday:

A radar-confirmed tornado continues to track toward Green Bay, Wisconsin. Residents should seek shelter now.

11:19 a.m. CDT Saturday:

A radar-confirmed tornado is tracking southwest of Green Bay. There have been funnel clouds sighted near Greenville and Weyauwega, Wisconsin.

11 a.m. CDT Saturday:

Radar estimates indicate that nearly 10 inches of rain has inundated the area east of Fountain, Michigan, in the northwestern part of the state.

10 a.m. CDT Saturday:

Roughly 20,000 customers were without power in Minnesota with the majority of the outages in southern parts of the state.

In Neillsville, Wisconsin, there was a report of a semi truck blown off of Highway 10.

8 a.m. CDT Saturday:

In the northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, a total of 6 inches of rain has poured down near Iron, Minnesota.

7:36 a.m. CDT Saturday:

A wind gust of 65 mph was reported at Brookings, South Dakota.

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