Minneapolis update on response to possible tornado in south Minneapolis

This update is as of 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009.

City of Minneapolis Police, Fire, Public Works, and Inspections crews have been out assessing and responding to damage caused by the possible tornado this afternoon. They will continue their work into the evening and will be back out tomorrow morning.

Here are the latest updates on the situation:

• The City of Minneapolis still has no reports of injury, though there are many trees down and many properties have suffered damage in the vicinity of Portland Avenue south of Downtown and at the Minneapolis Convention Center. For the public’s safety and the safety of crews working to clean up, people are asked to avoid this area if possible.

As of 6 p.m., Minneapolis Police and emergency responders have finished a door-to-door search of the most affected area and have not reported any injuries. Their searches have focused on the area bounded by Interstate 35W to Park Avenue, from 35th Street to 49th Street, as well as 5th Avenue South between Lake Street and 35th Street.  

• Due to power outages, as a preventive measure, Minneapolis Police will have extra patrols in the area tonight.

• Public Works crews are focused on clearing debris from the streets so they are open and safe, and will continue this work tomorrow. Public Works and the Park and Recreation Board are evaluating the situation to best manage how to handle the debris from downed trees once the streets are clear. More information will be released tomorrow around midday to let residents know what the coordinated approach will be to removing tree debris.

• There are some ongoing street closures because of downed trees or power lines. The streets will be reopened once they are cleared and safe.

• Xcel Energy is working to identify and manage downed power lines. To report damaged or downed power lines, call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-1999.

• Some areas in this vicinity did not get yard waste pickup today due to the weather. However, if your yard waste was not picked up today as scheduled, city crews will pick up the yard waste tomorrow. Otherwise, Solid Waste & Recycling is on a normal schedule.

• Residents who need to report issues related to the storm (such as traffic signal outages or street flooding) should call 311, which is open until 11 p.m tonight.

• City staff want to remind residents that if you are approached by or are seeking a contractor to do repair work, make sure to confirm that the contractor is licensed to ensure that the work is done properly.

• The Minneapolis Convention Center has sustained roof damage on the eastern edge of the building and has incurred some water damage and other property damage. There currently is a large convention at the Convention Center, with about 2,200 attendees. People inside the Convention Center were taken to a safe location, and there were no reports of injury.

• The Minneapolis Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was partially activated this afternoon to coordinate the City's emergency response. A partial activation means that targeted resources and staff (Police, Fire, Public Works, Emergency Preparedness, etc.) are coordinating together in the EOC, but that it is not required that staff from every City department be present in the center. The EOC ended operations today at 6 p.m. 

There will be no additional updates from the City of Minneapolis tonight. Further information will be released as it is available on Aug. 20.

6:30 p.m., Aug. 19, 2009

Published Aug. 19, 2009