Storm leaves mark in northern Red River Valley
GRAND FORKS - While the southern Red River Valley bore the brunt of Tuesday night's storm, which dropped as much as 6 inches in some areas south of Fargo, northern and western areas of the valley were not exactly spared.
Hail was reported throughout the region and winds topped 50 and 60 mph from Devils Lake and Cooperstown to Hallock and Hendrum, Minn.
Portions of Pembina County, which was pounded by heavy rains and flooding last month, recorded as much as 2.5 inches in Drayton and at Akra, according to Monica Brusseau, emergency planner.
"There was a lot of wind, but no reports of wind damage," she said.
Crystal in Pembina County received about 2 inches of rain. The town's western half flooded last month after heavy rains.
The rainfall amounts varied widely.
Grand Forks Air Force Base recorded 1.26 inches of rain in the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday, while Grand Forks International Airport, just a few miles to the east, recorded 0.45 of an inch.
Likewise in Pembina County, while Cavalier recorded about 1 inch, Akra, about five miles the west, recorded 2.5 inches.
Meanwhile, Hallock recorded the strongest winds in the region, with a gust of 62 mph Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.
The storm was strongest between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Kittson County Road 7 was closed overnight east of Drayton, according to Kelly Bengston, county engineer. Crews used a backhoe to clear a large fallen tree on the road.
The county also received reports of some twisted trees blocking a St. Joseph Township road about four miles north of Lancaster, Minn.,
"We don't know if it was a tornado," Bengston said.
The storm dumped 1.22 inches of rain on the Kittson County community in the northwest corner of Minnesota.
Wind gusts in the high 40s and low 50s were common throughout the region.
Hail as large as 2.5 inches in diameter was reported in Hendrum.
One-inch-diameter hail also was reported in or near Blanchard, Cando, Cooperstown, Devils Lake, Fillmore, Finley, Fort Totten and Grandin, all in North Dakota; and Halstad, Minn., according to reports filed by weather observers for the National Weather Service.
Hail also was widespread in southern portions of the Red River Valley. However, winds were less severe in the south and the north, according to Bill Barrett, a weather service meteorologist.
"The wind was caused by the movement of the storm in the north," he said. "When the storm starts to die off, it collapses, it caves into itself. And that brings a lot of wind."
Flood warnings were issued for the southern Red River Valley, as well as for Halstad, Minn., Grand Forks and Oslo, Minn.
While moderate to major flooding is expected in parts of the southern valley, minor flooding is forecast in Grand Forks and Oslo.
However, forecasters have to wait to see how the water moves, whether the majority of the rain is soaked into the soil or runs off to the Red River and its tributaries, according to Barrett.