Thursday evening’s storms left a lot of damage behind in the Waterville area.

Jonathan and Beth Smith’s Waterville home was damaged by the storm.

They are asking people to avoid the area for now because Le Sueur County Emergency Management Director Ann Traxler said, “Our first responders are trying to get everything done and the people that are trying to see what happened are causing kind of a backup.”

Traxler is warning drivers to avoid the downed lines. For those displaced by the storm, Traxler said there is a shelter available in Montgomery at the Civic Center.

Also suffering damage, Camp Omega in Waterville. Officials said there are a large number of trees down at the youth camp but there is minimal structural damage except for teepee village. Because of the debris staff have not been able to make it beyond the beach to see the treehouses. The camp office is closed and the phones are not working, and they’ve put out a social media plea for volunteers with trucks and chainsaws to help clean up the damage.

A tree lies on a cabin at Camp Omega in Waterville.

 

Le Sueur County Emergency Management officials are asking residents of Elysian to report any damaged suffered in Thursday night’s storms to report it at the Elysian Tourism Center across from Casey’s. That includes everything from homes to buildings and trees. Elysian public works crews will be collecting tree debris over the next few days if it’s placed by the curb. Officials add that the power will be out for an unexpected amount of time as repairs are made and Elysian City Hall will be closed until power is restored.

At least one home was damaged from a possible tornado in Elysian, and a home was also pushed off its foundation in Granada.

Easton, the steeple was toppled at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and the roof heavily damaged. Church officials celebrated the restoration of the steeple on the historic church in 2010.

Highway 13 south of Waseca was closed to truck traffic for about 10 hours between Highway 14 and County Road 15 because of a sagging power line, but that was resolved this morning. The Minnesota Department of Transportation was unable to establish a detour because many other local roads were also blocked with debris and power lines.

There are several spots still without power in Fairmont, where cleanup efforts are also underway. City officials said city crews are working to pick up debris and make repairs to city property, but they will not be picking up private brush. They are asking people not to drop it off at the tree dump and deposit it instead at either the Fairmont Aquatic Park parking lot or the north parking lot of the Winnebago Sports Complex off of Margaret Street. They have also parked a trailer with free drinking water in the Hy-vee Parking Lot.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed Highway 93 between Henderson and Highway 169 due to flooding on the Rush River. Currently, traffic is being detoured to Highway 19. MnDOT officials also warn that forecasted river levels for the Minnesota River may result in closures of both Highway 19 and 93 in the Henderson area by early next week. The transportation is also telling drivers they should never drive on a flooded road, for many reasons. Officials said it’s illegal and can result in a fine of $1,000 and 90 days in jail, and if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.

Waseca County officials said all travel advisories have been lifted and all roads have been reopened in the county, with the exception of some rural areas. Anyone with non-emergency storm-related damage there, including Waseca, Janesville, New Richland, and Waldorf areas, is asked to fill out an online damage report available on the county website.

While many of the surrounding communities are assessing moderate to severe storm damage Friday, the City of Mankato made it through the thunderstorms relatively unscathed. Mankato Department of Public Safety Director Todd Miller said, “We had street crews out dealing with trees down, blocked roads. Thompson Ravine Road was blocked for a while due to a power line wrapped up in a tree. Near the hospital, we had a tree down on a car.”

Mankato Fire Commander Don Lehne said there were about a dozen fire calls after the storm, most just reporting downed power lines. However, two homeowners reported the service lines to their home resulted in smoke inside the house – one incident a little more serious than the other. “Tree got in a power line and it actually energized the house,” he explained, “Crews had to monitor the situation until Xcel (Energy) was able to get there and shut the power off. Crews went in, checked the house, checked for hot spots and we were able to turn it back over to the homeowner.”

Lehne said those homeowners will have to hire an electrician to assess any damage it may have caused. A 70 m.p.h. wind gust was recorded at the Mankato Airport at the height of the storm.