FERTILE, Minn. — C.J. Sip spent Monday cleaning up branches and debris from a tornado that touched down Saturday on his farmstead southeast of Fertile.
No one was living on the farm, and there were no injuries. The funnel was viewed by trained spotters between 7:34 and 7:45 p.m. Saturday at the Sand Hills Golf Course in Fertile, according to the National Weather Service Office in Grand Forks.
Sip was at a wedding in Ada, Minn., when the tornado hit and didn’t know about it until later that night when he checked his phone and saw a message from a neighbor, he said.
Winds estimated at 115 mph during the peak of the tornado took the roof off of a shop, leveled a barn and destroyed three steel grain bins at the farmstead he owns near Fertile, Sip said. The tornado twisted parts of the grain bins around trees.
The National Weather Service office in Grand Forks classified the tornado as F-2 or moderate. The path of the tornado was 3.6 miles and it was estimated at 160 yards wide, the weather service said.
Sip was using a skid-steer loader Monday to clean up branches, grain bins and pieces of the shop. He planned to hire someone with an excavator to bury the former dairy barn, which in recent years had been used for storage.
There also was damage reported from Saturday's storms in Norman County, Minn., where strong winds tore siding off a house in Ada, the weather service reported.
On Friday, there was wind damage to trees on a farmstead near Alvarado, Minn., the weather service said.
Early June typically ushers in the summer thunderstorm season, said Jennifer Ritterling, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Forks.
“As we go into our next weeks of June, we get into the peak of severe weather,” she said.
A combination of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and the position of the jet stream results in the storms, Ritterling said.
Monday there wasn’t much moisture in the atmosphere, but that is expected to increase with a 70% chance of severe thunderstorms in the region. Sunny and breezy conditions return on Wednesday.
There is a slight chance of severe thunderstorms with winds up to 60 mph and hail up to an inch in diameter, according to the National Storm Prediction Center.
“It does look like the highest probability of severe weather will be south and west of us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get it,” Ritterling said. “We will have to keep an eye out.”