Northeast North Dakota, northwest Minnesota get hit with stormsFOREST RIVER — An early morning storm system, with estimated wind speeds as high as 95 miles per hour in some areas, proved to be a rude awakening for many residents here Wednesday.
By: Erik Burgess , The Dickinson Press
FOREST RIVER — An early morning storm system, with estimated wind speeds as high as 95 miles per hour in some areas, proved to be a rude awakening for many residents here Wednesday.
“I woke up to my friends yelling at me to get the hell out,” resident Linda Paschke said.
Paschke, 42, spent the morning with her family cleaning up debris in her backyard, including a tree about eight inches in diameter. Ripped out at the trunk, it crash landed just inches away from her porch.
“It could’ve been really bad,” she said. “No hole in my house, thank God.”
High speed winds whipped through northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, beginning about 4 a.m. Wednesday, downing trees, power lines and damaging homes throughout the area.
The National Weather Service reported peak winds between 85 to 95 miles per hour near Karlstad, Minn., with winds between 60 to 70 miles per hour near Roseau, Minn. Rainfall throughout the area was estimated by the weather service to be between one and two inches.
Power lines along N.D. Highway 18 and near rural Grafton also were downed, but Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson said major power outages were not a problem.
Some of Paschke’s neighbors were not so lucky. Just across the street, a tree lay on top of another trailer. It belonged to the son of Garry Novak, 56, Grand Forks, who stopped by Wednesday morning to check on the damage.
“When your son gets in trouble, you gotta see what’s happening,” he said.
Novak said he called his son earlier Wednesday morning to see if his son was OK after the storm. His son informed him that a tree had fallen on top of his trailer.
The tree remained tipped onto the roof after the storm. Novak said it needed to stay there so the insurance company could look at it.
“You can’t control the weather, right?” he said.
Fires and wind
A house fire because of lightning in rural Roseau, Minn., was reported to the weather service. Roseau County Sheriff’s Department said no injuries were reported because of the fire, and the damage had not yet been estimated.
Another house fire in Grafton was reported, and the cause could have been lightning, Nelson said. Calls made to the fire marshal were not returned.
Trees greater than a foot in diameter were reported downed in Roseau County, according to the weather service. Dime to golf ball-sized hail was reported, but officials said most of the damage was due to high winds.
A tornado was reported just outside of Karlstad, Minn., in Kittson County at about 7:30 a.m. According to the Kittson County Sheriff’s Department, no injuries were reported. There was significant damage to one building in particular, the Kittson County Maintenance Shed, which holds road maintenance equipment.
According to Patrick Klegstad, a dispatcher in the Kittson County Sheriff’s Office, no one actually reported seeing the tornado, but a post-storm analysis of the wind damage revealed tornado-like
“They could tell by the trees, the damage to the trees,” he said. “There’s 360 (degree) damage, like rotation damage. It wasn’t just straight line.”
Klegstad said up to 200 felled trees were reported near Lake Bronson, Minn., which is about 50 miles north of Thief River Falls, Minn. The damage was because of straight line winds, not tornados, he said.
Burgess is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.