Brief but strong windstorms hit regionFARGO – A thunderstorm system carrying strong winds blew through the Fargo-Moorhead area around 7 a.m. before moving on to the east.
By: Dave Olson, Forum News Service, Forum News Service
FARGO – A thunderstorm system carrying strong winds blew through the Fargo-Moorhead area around 7 a.m. before moving on to the east.
About an hour earlier the system blasted through Valley City, knocking over trees and power poles.
Andrea Suhr, a dispatcher with the Barnes County Sheriff's Department, said that when a line of strong winds blew through the county a number of vehicles were knocked off the road, including a semi and a pair of pickups that were pulling campers.
She said two brothers who were driving the pickups said they saw what appeared to be a large dirt storm approaching and pulled onto the shoulder of the road.
Suhr said they described winds strong enough to lift their vehicles off the ground. The drivers suspected a tornado may have been involved but Suhr said there has been no confirmation that a tornado may have played a role in the storm.
Suhr said the storm lasted only a short while but left behind many downed trees and power poles in Valley City.
Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said he and another member of the Sheriff's Department were traveling to Bismarck for a meeting early this morning when they noticed a large dust cloud heading for them.
"It looked like a black wall," Laney said. He added they were looking to pull over when the wind swept by and buffeted their car like it was a ping pong ball.
The wind passed by quickly and in its wake they encountered a semi that had bleen blown over.
Laney said the driver had told them the wind struck suddenly and he had no warning before his rigged was blown onto its side.
By 7:25 a.m. the turbulent weather, which was caused by the arrival of a cold front, was moving toward the Becker County area in Minnesota and diminishing in intensity.
The National Weather Service said winds up to 60 mph were associated with the storms this morning.
The Weather Service said continued gusty winds today combined with low relative humidity and dry conditions will increase the threat of grassfires across the region.