A storm at 7:30 p.m., Friday provided spectacular views of wind whipping through trees in southwestern Plymouth. In less than an hour the storm was gone. While it was here, it created many near misses, as huge mature trees could not withstand the stress of severe winds. They came crashing down near garages, homes and drivers attempting to go home.
At Holy Name Cemetery in nearby Medina, the trunk of a giant, elderly conifer broke off three feet above the ground. The entire tree landed within close range of many gravestones that miraculously went unscathed. In western Plymouth, just east of Mooney Lake, Betty White was driving home as the storm hit. Trees came down on each side of the road, forcing her to drive down the middle of the road. As she arrived home, a tree came down next to the end of her driveway. She missed being under the falling tree by less than a minute. Down the street Jeannette Schlegel hid in her bathroom to keep herself safe from trees that might fall on her house. Her house is surrounded by mature trees that scattered clumps of debris on her lawn.
Given the strength of the whoosh of wind that hit western Plymouth at 7:30 p.m., the result was not surprising. Power went out immediately. The next day a mail carrier reported that power was out all the way along Highway 55 into Golden Valley. Gas stations were closed, and his gas gauge was hovering at a quarter full.
A drive west along County Road 6 from Plymouth into Medina revealed the reason for the power outage. A power pole had snapped, and as it came down, it took several other power poles along with it. Trees were down everywhere in the area, and numerous Xcel energy crews had to clear the trees before they could start erectlng new power poles.
Residents to the north were struggling with downed trees and loss of power to their sump pumps. Some residents resorted to back up power generators to bring sump pumps back on line in flooding basements.
What happened in the Medina/ Plymouth area is a microcosm of the storm experience in many cities of the western Twin Cities suburbs.