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Severe storm impacts thousands throughout Red River Valley

FARGO, N.D. -- Meteorologists in the region are forecasting more threats for storms or showers every day this week, but it looks like Tuesday, June 13, was the worst of it.

Storm clouds over south Moorhead on Tuesday evening. Forum News Service
Storm clouds over south Moorhead on Tuesday evening. Forum News Service

FARGO, N.D. - Meteorologists in the region are forecasting more threats for storms or showers every day this week, but it looks like Tuesday, June 13, was the worst of it.

And Tuesday was pretty bad. More than 3,000 customers were without power from 12 outages reported, the Xcel Energy Electric Outage Map showed as of 9:30 p.m. Customers from West Fargo, the Oakport area and all throughout Fargo were impacted.

The outage map was updating every 10 minutes, meanwhile calls to Red River Valley dispatch were coming in like crazy when the storm swept over Fargo-Moorhead around 9 p.m. Within minutes, the metro saw neighborhoods experience outages. A series of power lines fell down, sparking and catching fire with nearby trees in West Fargo and branches broke like pencils in the 70-mph gusts. "The trees look like they are about to fall over," one officer was heard saying over the scanner.

By 9:22 p.m., the calm of the storm was creeping in. "The worst of the storm should be over now," a North Dakota State University officer said to his crew monitoring the campus where generators kicked in.

Officers and emergency crews were busy clearing up the aftermath of the storm with dozens of reports of roads blocked by trees or power lines knocked down in the F-M area.

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John Hoppes, with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said Tuesday will be the worst weather this week. The weather service issued several warnings for thunderstorms and tornadoes as high winds and quarter-inch hail rushed over the Red River Valley.

"We haven't had any spots or reports of anything yet," Hoppes said of tornados, adding that radar indicated a fairly good rotation 7 miles north of Lisbon, N.D., around 8 p.m.

In Grand Forks, high winds caused a train car to partially derail. A string of 15 empty cars were pushed as far as a half-mile away from the North Dakota Mill and they collided with two other train cars that employees were filling with metal scrap.

"I've never seen anything like this happen in 18 years," said Mike Jones, director of transportation at the mill.

The path of the storm later moved northeast of Fargo overnight Tuesday, but Wednesday, June 14, will bring more showers and thunderstorms, mostly to the northern part of the valley, Hoppes said. Another chance for storms is forecasted for Thursday, June 15 and Friday, June 16.

Related Topics: SEVERE WEATHER
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