STORM DAMAGE: Bloomington trees fall on cars, power lines, homes - FOX 35 News Orlando

STORM DAMAGE: Trees topple atop cars, power lines, homes in Bloomington

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Under calm blue skies, clean-up is underway across the Twin Cities after powerful storms swept across the state and Bloomington is buzzing with the sound of chainsaws as crews clean up tree debris.

Although Wednesday brought fair, placid weather, the homes and cars slammed by Tuesday's thunderstorm are still a mess. Xcel Energy crews are still working to get power back to thousands of customers left in the dark , but toppled trees aren't making it easy.

Several southern suburbs got slammed with hail, heavy rain and winds, but Bloomington appeared to bear the brunt from the vantage point of SKYFOX9.

Many massive, full-canopy trees fell atop cars and homes in south Bloomington, but the residents are trying to take it in stride.

"You just got to laugh, you know?" said Judy Noor.

Admittedly, it's hard to hear the laughter over the chainsaws on Colfax Avenue South, but Noor has resigned herself to scrapping up the rest of the cruel joke.

"My sister said that last night. She said, 'You're laughing,'" Noor recalled. "I said, 'You either laugh or you cry.'"

Some who spoke with FOX 9 said they preferred to do just that because the large and lush trees they lost defined their neighborhood. On Tuesday night, the storm altered that definition with a new story -- and a tree expert who spoke with FOX 9 News said the way the trees fell offered a forensic map of the storm's path.

"When I get here, I can see every branch and tree, and the direction of the fall is between east and southeast and south, depending upon what's in the way of it," Jake Seidenstricker, of Jake's Top Notch Tree Service, said.

Power lines were often in the way, including an 8,000-volt connector line. By mid-day, there were still nearly 500 power outages in Bloomington alone as crews swarmed to reconnect the lines.

The wind didn't just take out trees either. Along 90th and Penn, the gusts tore metal siding and signage from a Holiday gas station, turning them like strips of tinfoil. That sort of damage requires a lot of heavy lifting, even heavy machinery.

Bloomington Public Works crews have been using a lot of both as they drop off the tree debris at a temporary collection site south of the Mall of America because several neighborhoods were hit particularly hard. They didn't have to do it alone, however. Even those without power brightened up by getting a jump on the clean-up.

"If you don't have electricity, you got to go back to the old ways," Tim Johnson said. "There are good ways. It might take a bit longer, but it's worth it in the end."

Neighbor after neighbor pitched in to clean up and move forward.

"No one got hurt, so that's all that matters," Johnson said.

Most of the trees lost were ash and silver maples with full canopies that acted like a sail in the strong wind, causing them to snap or uproot in the soft soil.

"The wind was blowing, it was hailing, it was raining," recalled Vicky Noor. "The neighbor couldn't see my house from across the street, that's how bad it was."

The peak gust registered at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport nearby was 57 mph.

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