MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) — A storm-chasing meteorologist died in an accident that officials said downed power lines as the severe storm brought damaging winds, heavy rain and few reports of tornadoes in Minnesota.
Martha Llanos Rodriguez of Mexico City, Mexico, was killed Wednesday evening by debris on Interstate 90 in southwest Minnesota, when a car she was in was attempting to avoid power lines on the road and hit a semi. Had collided. Three others in the vehicle were injured, including Chilean meteorologist Diego Campos.
“We were chasing some storms,” Campos told the Star Tribune from his hospital bed when his car collided with a power line in Nobles County. “The storm was really bad, and we were trying to get out of there.”
Campos said that he and the other three weather experts had known each other through professional conferences and courses.
Thousands of homes and businesses in southern Minnesota were out of power on Thursday as hundreds of Xcel Energy employees and contractors worked to restore service. The utility company said more than 200,000 customers lost power in Wednesday night’s storm, primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Storm Prediction Center said more potentially severe weather was forecast for Thursday that could bring hail, strong winds and tornadoes off the Dakota and Minnesota.
Torrential rains inundated some roads and highways in the Twin Cities area, with several reports of vehicles being stranded in flash floods. The football field at Allianz Field in St. Paul was flooded, forcing Wednesday’s game between Minnesota United and Colorado. As Minnesota Public Radio reports, the storm also brought hailstones larger than golf balls to Shakopee.
Weather forecasters reported several tornado sightings as the storm passed through southern Minnesota. There were no immediate reports of damage from those potential tornadoes.
Tornado warning sirens sounded in most of the Twin Cities on Wednesday night, with no immediate reports of tornado touchdowns in the metro area.