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Gov. Walz calls southern Minnesota cleanup a 'well-oiled machine'

About 500 power lines were taken down with high winds leaving more than 8,000 homes and businesses without power.

Posted: Apr 13, 2019 10:43 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2019 9:34 AM

MOWER COUNTY, Minn. - Counties in southern Minnesota are banding together after a storm tore through the area.

About 30 people packed the board room of the Austin National Guard Armory. One by one community leaders from Mower County and Freeborn County took turns to talk about the damage to the area.

Governor Tim Walz listened and followed up with questions. He says he is impressed by how the communities are working together.

"This is a pretty well-oiled machine. It’s pretty organized and pretty focused, " said Walz.

The recent storm mimicked the strength of the winter storm seen earlier this year but this time the damage was more severe. About 500 power lines were taken down with high winds leaving more than 8,000 homes and businesses without power. Law enforcement was then tasked with blocking off roads.

As the damages started to add up the agencies were starting to be stretched thin. The state called in about 143 national guards from all over the state to help out. As recovery efforts kicked into high gear... team work seems to be the theme.

"Right now, the deputy and the national guard are doing are making sure the environment for the line man safe so all they have to do is worry about their job," Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said.

Jim Krueger owner of Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services says the lineman are working long shifts to get the job done.

"As of this morning we have about a 150-lineman working out of our office,” Said Krueger. “Our normal lineman level is about 25. So, we got an extra 125 from four surrounding states Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois."

He adds that the City of Lyle has been a concern of theirs. The Electric company has been struggling to get power restored to that area because the transmitter is located on the other side of the border in Iowa.

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