by Debbie Griffin
It’s estimated that 3,000 people in the Zimmerman-Princeton area are without power after severe weather on March 6 moved through Sherburne County.
People in Baldwin Township felt the brunt of severe weather. Most of the affected area seems to be west of Highway 169 from County Road 4/Fremont Avenue in Zimmerman to just north of County Road 9/293rd Avenue in Princeton.
Emergency responders went to multiple homes along 144th Street/County Road 1 near Little Elk Lake and the Ridgewood Bay around 6:30 p.m., where several homes were damaged from an apparent tornado. One passerby said he’d seen the funnel forming. More damages were reported in the Fawn Hill subdivision just north of County Road 9, including to homes and other property.
Baldwin Fire Captain Joe Kiel said on scene that as of about 8 p.m., he was not aware of any loss of life or severe injury. At least three people and one pet were displaced by the storm, according to chatter on a police scanner. Firefighters from Baldwin, Princeton and Zimmerman responded to the multiple scenes, along with Sherburne County deputies. Some heavy equipment was needed to move trees off the road, and many chainsaws could be heard in the distance.
Neighborhoods and homes throughout the area, including parts of Blue Hill Township are dark, with reports from Connexus energy as of 8 p.m. that it would be at least nine hours before power is restored. Kiel had reports of at least three or four power lines down in the area and said there would be some brief, temporary road closures in the area until those lines could be removed from the roadway.
Connexus had eight crews en route at 7 p.m. to work on restoring power, including four that were expected immediately. Power for some was restored by about 8 p.m.
The National Weather Service reported about 8 p.m. that the severe weather was done, however, that snow was in the forecast as temperatures were expected to drop. (Note: Jim Boyle contributed to this report.)