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Storms wreak havoc in parts of region

A severe storm crossed parts of the Northland early Friday morning, downing trees and power lines, causing flooding and forcing a medical clinic in Ely to close.

The storm developed in North Dakota late on Thursday, producing winds near 100 mph near the Minnesota border, said Jonathan Wolfe, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Duluth.

It slowly crossed northern Minnesota, reaching St. Louis County about 7 a.m. Wind gusts as high as 80 mph were reported 25 miles east of Ely, 65 mph in Ely and 63 mph on the Algoma Guardian on Lake Superior off of Beaver Bay.

Power outages and downed trees were reported in the Ely area, Wolfe said. As of 9 p.m., there were still 4,550 Lake Country Power customers without power. LCP said in a Facebook post that line crews were pulled in at 9 p.m. for “mandatory rest” and were expected to resume working on outage restoration at 6 a.m. Saturday. Line crews assisting LCP include Lake States Construction, Highline Construction and Cooperative Light and Power.

Essentia Health announced that the Essentia Health-Ely clinic would be closed Friday “due to inclement weather.”

Trees were damaged and quarter-sized hail was reported in Mountain Iron, and dime-sized hail was reported at the ore docks in Two Harbors, Wolfe said.

A quick downburst of heavy rain caused street flooding in Hibbing, he said. A few places may have received up to an inch and a half of rain, but half an inch to three-quarters of an inch was more typical.

Another storm system crossed southern parts of the region on Thursday, Wolfe said. Multiple reports of 1-inch hail were received from the Barnum area, and there were several reports of larger trees toppled. Anywhere from 2 to as much as 4 inches of rain fell from northern Cass County to Barnum, he said.

Another round of severe storms was expected to develop across Minnesota late Friday evening and overnight before pushing eastward over Lake Superior and northern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service said. Flooding is a possibility through the weekend.

Heat advisories were also in place to the south of the Twin Ports on Friday. Temperatures already were in the 80s in Crow Wing and Pine counties by 10 a.m.

Cloud cover should hold temperatures down somewhat in the Twin Ports, Wolfe said, but because of the high humidity heat indexes still could reach the low 90s in the higher elevations of Duluth.

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