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N.D. storm roundup: High winds, destruction

Over the years, Terry Moore has witnessed the destruction tornadoes leave behind. Now he knows what it feels to be in one. At about 4 p.m. Thursday, Moore was working in the shop at his farm 5 1/2 miles north of Mayville, N.D., when he heard a no...

Stadstad barn
Marcie Stadstad's barn near Manvel, N.D., was heavily damaged by a tornado on Thursday. (Herald photo by Ann Bailey)

Over the years, Terry Moore has witnessed the destruction tornadoes leave behind. Now he knows what it feels to be in one.

At about 4 p.m. Thursday, Moore was working in the shop at his farm 5½ miles north of Mayville, N.D., when he heard a noise that at first sounded like thunder. A few seconds later, he realized it wasn't thunder, but a tornado, so he raced to the shop office.

"I wasn't in there one second and everything went flying. In about 15 seconds, it was all over with. Now all I've got is a pile of rubble," Moore said Friday. Besides destroying the shop, the tornado ripped up about a dozen farmstead trees, demolished a storage shed and moved another building about 10 feet off of its foundation.

Moore received only minor injuries from the storm.

"I only wound up with a few stitches on my hand," he said. He figures he probably wounded his hand when he was being buffeted by the winds.


"I was pushing on the wall and hanging on."

Although the tornado caused major damage to the buildings on his farmstead, it didn't disturb the contents of the storage shed or the desk that was in the middle of the shop.

"My billfold was still sitting on the desk," Moore said.

Friday morning, Moore was cleaning up debris in his yard and waiting for an insurance adjustor as he talked about his harrowing experience.

"It's not something I want to live through every day," he said. "I've seen the damage they do; I've never been in one. It's an once-in-a-lifetime experience."

A preliminary estimate from the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks said as many as 20 tornadoes may have touched down in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Storms dumped rain and high-level winds also hit other areas of North Dakota.

Strong straight-line winds damaged a number of buildings east of Carrington on Thursday afternoon, according to Dale Townsend, emergency manager for Foster County, as winds hit as high as 70 mph there.

Another twister


Marcie Stadstad and her daughter, Sharla, could relate to Moore's experience. The two were in the house on their farm near Manvel, N.D., Thursday afternoon when Sharla Stadstad saw a tornado skip by their farmstead. Then she noticed another larger tornado heading toward the house.

The Stadstads headed for the basement.

"The house just shuddered," Marcie Stadstad said. The tornado was over in a few seconds, and then they went back upstairs to check out the damage.

"The first thing I noticed was that the pickup was a little buried." However, the truck, which had a tree lying on it, sustained only a few small dents.

The Stadstad's horse barn was harder hit. About 80 feet of the 120-foot barn was demolished by the tornado. Fortunately, the 40 feet that remained were housing the family's four horses, which escaped the tornado unharmed, if not a little shaken by the experience.

"They hung their heads in the corner for two hours," Sharla Stadstad said.

While the tornadoes caused damage to trees and buildings across northeast North Dakota, it didn't appear to hit crops too hard. The excessive rains of May and June, however, have created crop problems, according to area agricultural experts.

Crop damage


In Walsh County from 0.70 to 2 inches of rain fell Thursday, said Brad Brummond, Walsh County extension agent.

"We need some sunshine. We need dry weather. We can't keep getting this rain the way we're getting it. We're getting disease problems, we're getting drown-out, we're stunting our crops."

The rains have been so excessive in northwest and southwest Walsh County, farmers haven't even been able to get into the field to plant, Brummond said. And they probably won't be.

"It's getting late. I don't see a lot of crop getting put in now."

Elsewhere in Walsh County, small grains that were planted early look good, but the wet conditions have potential for breeding fusarium head blight or scab.

"Scab is a huge concern," Brummond said. "We've be on the air and we've been trying to encourage people to put protection on their spring wheat."

Row crop conditions across the county are variable. The northeast part of the county has had a lot of drowned-out row crops, Brummond said

"It's a mess up there."


Widespread damage

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven on Friday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct a preliminary damage assessment for flood damages to public infrastructure in Ward County as a result of Thursday's heavy rains. The Ward County Commission Friday issued an Emergency Declaration in the aftermath of the storm.

If the damages reach a dollar threshold of about $190,000, Ward County could be added to the existing Federal Disaster Declaration for spring flooding, which was approved March 14. Counties already included in that declaration may also be eligible to recover losses through state and federal sources as a result of the recent rains. Those counties include Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Steele, Traill, Walsh and Benson.

Drown-out fields and fields with areas that were too wet to plant are fairly common across northeast North Dakota.

"Rain after rain is causing us some problems," said Mike Morgan, Thompson (N.D.) Farmers Co-op Elevator manager. "It seems like every guy we talk to has 40, 50 acres that he didn't get planted,"

Warm dry weather, needed

In general, crops across northeast North Dakota could use some warm, dry weather.

"Sunshine and heat are the ticket," Brummond said. "That's what we really need -- and something below 40 mile an hour winds."


Farmers in the Thompson area are waiting for weather conditions to improve so they can get their fields sprayed, Morgan said.

"If isn't rain, it's wind. I think the thing farmers are most worried about now is getting these crops that are up, protected," he said.

Keith Norman of the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun contributed to this story. The Jamestown Sun and the Herald are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to abailey@gfherald.com .

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