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Published September 01, 2011, 08:43 PM

Early-morning Storm Rips Through Grafton

GRAFTON, ND (WDAZ-TV) - People in the Grafton area woke up to high winds and heavy rains as a storm ripped through town. Hundreds of trees caused damage around town, forcing the city and residents to spend hours cleaning up.

GRAFTON, ND (WDAZ-TV) - People in the Grafton area woke up to high winds and heavy rains as a storm ripped through town.

Hundreds of trees caused damage around town, forcing the city and residents to spend hours cleaning up.

"Just a roar kind of like a train," said Tom McCarty, who had property damaged in the storm.

Tom McCarty has lived peacefully in the city for more than 40 years. Early this morning "peaceful" turned to "destructive" as a storm ripped through the area.

"Total devastation as far as the pickup. I kept parking it there for years wondering if some year it was going to split and land on it, but I never thought it would be this soon," McCarty said.

People woke up to high winds and heavy rains causing hundreds of trees like this one behind me to split, which could take weeks to clean up.

"About 2:30 or 3:00 in that area it really started to storm bad. We had a lot of straight line winds and as you can see in town, we had a lot of damage," Grafton mayor Chris West said.

65 mile-per-hour winds damaged power lines, homes and cars. City crews cleared emergency routes first, then started on residential areas.

"We're having people call into the city and we're kind of tabulating to see what kind of damage we have," West said.

Damage that has people like McCarty spending hours cleaning up and hoping for the best.

"We're pretty steady at it, but we haven't made a lot of progress at it because of the size of the tree. It'll be clean-up forever, it's not going to be done in one day," McCarty said.

Although wind speeds were measured at 64 miles-per-hour at the Grafton airport, meteorologist John Wheeler says wind gusts could have been much higher in the city to cause so much damage.

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