Multiple rounds of severe weather ripped through North Dakota over the holiday weekend, leaving a swath of damage in Grant County and impacting other areas of the state as the region braces for a week of volatile weather.
Severe thunderstorms were expected across portions of southern and western North Dakota late Monday afternoon into the evening with forecasts predicting heavy rain, golf ball-size hail and winds gusting up to 70 mph, according to an outlook report from the National Weather Service in Bismarck. An isolated tornado was possible, the report said.
Severe storms are expected across the entire state on Tuesday, with hail, high winds and heavy rains all at play. The weather should tame down later in the week before starting up again as the weekend approaches, according to meteorologist Jeff Schild.
“We have a very unstable atmosphere with plenty of moisture in it, and any disturbance that moves on through is causing thunderstorms,” he said.
Crops were damaged by severe weather in the northwestern corner of the state near Crosby, and strong wind gusts and funnel clouds were reported east of Ashley. But the most damaging storms of the holiday weekend went through southwestern North Dakota near Lake Tschida, Schild said.
High winds and baseball-size hail ripped through part of Grant County late Sunday afternoon, leaving a mile to 2-mile wide swath of land “that just got devastated” from Lake Tschida southeast to the eastern county line, Emergency Manager Patrick Diehl said.
More reports of weather damage were still coming in on Monday, but Diehl estimated that, based on what he’d seen so far, the storms caused between “a half million to a million dollars (in damage), easy.”
“We’re talking vehicles destroyed, totaled, we’re talking siding on houses destroyed,” Diehl said. “We’re talking farm equipment that was out, glass busted out.”
Metal sheds and vehicles were dinged up, and crops were shredded and destroyed in some places, he said.
Up to three waves of hail were reported in some parts of the county, while others had continuous hail for more than 10 minutes, Diehl said. He witnessed a second round of coin-size hail fall on Carson, but family members who live south of Carson didn’t get any hail, just a sprinkle of rain.
“I suppose it was just the dynamics of the storm,” Diehl said. “It was very unique, no doubt about that.”
A strong supercell thunderstorm like the one that came through Grant County has a main “hail shaft” under which the worst destruction occurs, Schild said.
Other severe weather damage over the weekend included a weather service report of cottonwood trees “obliterated” by thunderstorm winds Saturday night in Dickey County along the South Dakota border.
Schild said residents should stay aware of severe weather this week.
“Keep an eye on the forecast and an eye on the sky,” he said.
Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or Bilal.Suleiman@bismarcktribune.com
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