WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Storms packing snow, ice and dangerous winds knocked out power in communities throughout the Midwest and prompted Minnesota's governor to call out the state National Guard on Wednesday to help residents.
Icy weather left thousands of people in Minnesota in the dark, while another storm threatened to dump several inches of wet snow in the state by Thursday. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said the weather was taxing the resources of local and county governments, and he issued an executive order activating the guard.
The town of Worthington was using backup diesel generators to power sections of the city at a time, public utilities manager Scott Hain told Minnesota Public Radio. Roughly a quarter to a third of the city of about 13,000 people was without power at any given time, he said.
"With the generation that we have available, we are conducting rolling blackouts through the community," Hain said. "From what we're hearing from the folks that own the transmission that's down right now, is we expect that we'll be operating under this same scenario at least through the rest of today and possibly into tomorrow as well."
The National Weather Service said southwestern Minnesota could get 8 or 9 inches of snow by Thursday morning, while 8 to 14 inches was forecast for a large swath of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Willmar and Mankato starting Wednesday night and into Thursday.
In Missouri and Arkansas, dangerous winds were the threat Wednesday. A tornado was reported to have touched down near Botkinburg in north-central Arkansas, said John Robinson, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock. Four people were injured.
Butch Dye, a hydrometeorological technician with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, Mo., said severe weather struck the suburb of Hazelwood.