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BREAKING: Indiana woman gets probation in first Capitol riot sentencing

Midwest power outages linger after storms

Thousands of utility customers in the Midwest were still without electricity Saturday following waves of thunderstorms.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Thousands of utility customers in the Midwest were still without electricity Saturday following waves of thunderstorms.

In northern Illinois, ComEd spokesman Peter Pedraza said 67,000 customers still had no power as a result of the severe weather that struck on Friday.

Consumers Energy in Michigan said about 33,600 of its customers statewide had no power Saturday and Duke Energy in Indiana reported about 13,000 customers blacked out. Indianapolis Power and Light reported nearly 8,000 outages.

Iowa and Wisconsin also had scattered outages.

The storms produced torrential rain. The National Weather Service said parts of northern Illinois may have gotten up to 4 inches of rain Friday and Racine, Wis., had a 24-hour total of nearly 7 inches.

On Friday, flight delays at O'Hare International Airport on Friday were averaging one hour and dozens of flights were canceled.

On Thursday, powerful storms brought heavy rain, strong winds and unleashed several tornadoes, damaging homes and businesses, tossing railcars off their tracks and knocking out power to thousands.

In western Michigan, a teenager died after running into a downed power line while going to help neighbors as a storm swept through Thursday night.

Family members heard a "pop" and saw a flash when the power line fell and believed their neighbors' home might have caught fire.

Christopher, who was about 16, rushed to alert the neighbors, a family that included several young children. With electricity out in the area, he couldn't see clearly and ran into the waist-high line.

In the same county, Kent, a lightning strike set fire to a home, and heavy rain in the region flooded some roads. Consumers Energy Co. reports some 36,500 customers were without power statewide.

Five twisters in one town?
Also Thursday, daylight in southeastern Minnesota revealed a path of destruction left by an apparent tornado in the town of Austin, where vehicles were thrown about, homes were heavily damaged and power lines were knocked down. At least one man suffered minor injuries.

Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm said it appeared up to five twisters had hit Wednesday night. The National Weather Service said one tornado on the north side of town was about 10 miles long and lasted for more than 20 minutes. The weather service said that at its worst point, the twister registered an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, meaning it generated winds between 111 mph and 135 mph.

"It kind of developed on top of us," Stiehm said. "It just kind of — boom, it was just there and the intensity got real bad."

Mike Schuster, who lives in north Austin, told the Austin Daily Herald that he was on his deck when the tornado came out of nowhere, bowing one side of his house, destroying his shed and flattening his trees.

Central Minnesota also saw storms Thursday evening, complete with hail, lightning and some instances of strong winds. High winds in northwestern Minnesota flipped over a couple of semi-trailer trucks on Interstate 94, the Star Tribune reported. There were no injuries. Tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings were in effect throughout the night as the storm moved across Minnesota.