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Record downpour floods large portions of Dickinson

Four years of drought is being followed by record breaking hail storms, cold nights and flash floods as Summer 2022 continues to set records on the Western Edge.

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The underpass at South 3rd Avenue West became flooded in a matter of minutes and was impassible to traffic during heavy rainfalls on Sunday, July 3.
Photo by DJ Miller
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DICKINSON — While most of North Dakota on Sunday night experienced lighted skies courtesy of spectacular firework displays, on the Western Edge lightning showcased that mother nature can, and often does, put on the greatest displays.

Heavy rains and turbulent winds, just shy of category 1 hurricane levels, ripped through Dickinson between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. What followed was record rainfall ranging from 1 ¾ to 2 ½ inches in downtown, quickly inundating the low-lying areas and flooding the highway 22 underpass in a matter of minutes.

“It doesn't last all that long, but when you get that type of rainfall in that amount of time, especially in urban areas you are going to see some runoff issues,” said Meteorologist Todd Hamilton of Bismarck National Weather Service.

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3rd Street West from Highway 22 to 2nd Avenue West impassable due to a large tree that has fallen across the road.
Photo courtesy of Dickinson Fire Department

Prior to midnight, the City of Dickinson had already received 1 ½ inches of precipitation over a span of less than 50 minutes, and an additional inch by the storms end an hour later.

“In the short term we are in a quite active weather pattern with daily thunderstorm chances that have turned our dry June into what will probably be at least a normal, if not above normal, July," Hamilton said. "Just from the rain we already got early this month, and we are only just through the first four days, we are well on our way to that."

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Heavy rains flooded lower-lying areas of Villard Street.
Photo by DJ Miller

In neighboring areas rains were hit or miss, as South Heart saw hard rains while Belfield experienced light showers. The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport south of the city, reported that the storm did break their July 4 daily precipitation record, which was 1.19 inches set in 1995.

Hamilton said that the summertime rainfalls are variable and that June saw below average precipitation, despite the spring having a lot of moisture with April’s blizzards and May’s rainfall.

"It may be too early to say, but July’s early robust downpour is likely to bring above normal precipitation for the month with expected showers and thunderstorms throughout the week," he said.

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The underpass is completely flooded from the heavy rain after midnight on Monday, July 4 2022.
Contributed / Dickinson Fire Department

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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