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Associated Press, Published June 22 2013

216,000 still without power after Twin Cities hit with series of storms

MINNEAPOLIS — Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Twin Cities and other parts of the region lost power after three waves of strong storms packing high winds raked the area.

At the outage's height, more than 475,000 Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin were affected, the company said. About 216,000 were still without electricity by noon Saturday. The company said its electrical transmission and distribution system was severely damaged by the three rounds of weather that moved through on Friday morning, Friday evening and early Saturday.

Large trees were down all across the Twin Cities. The National Weather Service said a wind gust measuring 69 mph was reported just before 8 p.m. in Crystal in the northern Twin Cities.

"The level of power outages caused by this succession of storms is one of the highest we've ever faced," Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Xcel subsidiary Northern States Power-Minnesota, said in a news release.

Crews from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Colorado are helping to restore power, Xcel Energy said, as well as utility workers from other parts of the Midwest.

Showers and thunderstorms are in the Twin Cities' forecast through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.