- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Possible tornadoes and violent winds toppled large trees, twisted the grandstands at a raceway and sent youngsters home early from one camp in Minnesota because of a lack of power.

The National Weather Service said Monday at least four tornadoes may have moved through Grant, Wilkin and Otter Tail counties late Sunday.

About 140 young campers were safe after strong storms left a trail of damage near Brainerd. The campers, ages 9-12, and staff took shelter in their dorms when the storms blew through Sunday evening, according to Legionville Camp president Wayne Gilbertson.

The camp, operated by the American Legion, looked like a “war zone” with 50 to 70 trees down along with numerous power poles and lines, Gilbertson said. A tree also went through the roof of the camp’s education building.

The camp can’t operate without power, so the youngsters were being sent home Monday, he said.



“The counselor and camp manager called all the parents and told them to come and pick up their kids,” Gilbertson said. The camp was previously scheduled to end Friday. The storm sent canoes and kayaks flying into the woods and twisted the dock on North Long Lake, he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evacuated campers from the Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Site near Brainerd and closed it indefinitely. The corps said hundreds of trees had fallen in and around the campground.

The storms damaged the stands at Brainerd International Raceway and left a section in a pile of twisted metal.

Utility crews worked to restore service to about 12,000 customers of Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power who lost power as storms moved east from western Minnesota, through the Brainerd area and into the Twin Cities.

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