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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 14, 2009, 02:27 PM

Friday storms cause damage around the region

Severe weather around the region caused some damage Friday night, especially in Minnesota’s Beltrami County.

By: Ryan Johnson, GF Herald

Severe weather around the region caused some damage Friday night, especially in Minnesota’s Beltrami County.

The National Weather Service reported the area near Waskish, Minn., sustained wind damage shortly before midnight. Winds estimated at 70 mph uprooted or snapped trees, some with diameters of 10 to 20 inches, and an empty 450-gallon water tank was thrown about 100 yards over two fences and into a ditch.

The wind also caused crop damage in the region, blowing down corn crops and flattening other fields.

Earlier in the evening, strong winds broke large branches in a shelter belt near Crete, N.D., in Sargent County.

Friday afternoon, a public radio station tower in Moorhead was hit by lightning, damaging the transmitter and taking 91.1 FM, a classical music station, off the air for several days.

The damage also cut off a digital signal for two other Minnesota Public Radio stations.

Besides wind damage and lightning strikes, several area communities had heavy rains this weekend. Fargo had 1.17 inches fall from 8 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday; and Warroad, Minn., saw 1.76 inches of new rainfall during the same time.

Several Minnesota communities had heavy rainfall from Friday morning to Saturday morning. Red Lake Falls recorded 1.56 inches, Halstad had 1.13 inches and Waskish saw 1.57 inches of new rainfall by 10:30 a.m.

Cool wave

Grand Forks residents had a rainy, stormy weekend that ended up setting an unusual record. The temperature as recorded at the Grand Forks International Airport stayed above 68 degrees for the entire day Friday, breaking the previous record high minimum temperature of 66 degrees set in 2003.

From 10:30 a.m. Friday to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the weather service in Grand Forks re-corded 1.33 inches of rainfall in the city.

But temperatures should cool down across the region over the next week. Pete Speicher, weather service meteorologist, said there will still be chances of rain and scattered thunderstorms for the next several days, but the “next best chance” of rain over the next week will be today.

There is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m. today, and the skies will gradually become mostly sunny as the day goes on. A high is expected near 70 degrees, with a nighttime low of about 50 degrees.

Monday will be similar, with a slight chance of showers during the day and mostly cloudy conditions at night. There are chances of thunderstorms each day until Friday, with highs in the low- to mid-70s and lows in the 50s.

Speicher said Grand Forks has had a slightly cooler than normal August so far — temperatures have averaged to about 3 degrees below the monthly average temperature, even after last week’s mini heat wave.

That cooler trend will continue this week. The average high temperature for Aug. 15 is 82 degrees, but Speicher said Red River Valley residents will be lucky to even reach 80 degrees before the weekend.

The chances of having another 95 degree day or breaking 90 degrees anytime soon is pretty slim, he said, but that’s OK with him. “If it does, it’s a good time to do it because I’ll be out of town for the week,” he joked. “It’s not even going to be into the 80s.”

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohn-son@gfherald.com.

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