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3 tornadoes formed in Beltrami County, National Weather Service confirms

According to the National Weather Service report, a supercell thunderstorm formed in northwest Beltrami County around 4:30 p.m. July 26 and intensified as it tracked southeastward across Lower Red Lake and Red Lake Nation. It then split into two storm cells as it neared the southern edge of the lake and formed one or more tornadoes over the lake, which then tracked onshore.

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Hail from Monday night's storm is pictured after falling on the west side of Gull Lake near Tenstrike. Submitted photo.
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BELTRAMI COUNTY, Minnesota — Severe weather Monday evening, July 26, resulted in three confirmed tornadoes in Beltrami County and the Red Lake Nation, the National Weather Service announced on Thursday, July 29.

According to the NWS report, a supercell thunderstorm formed in northwest Beltrami County around 4:30 p.m. Monday and intensified as it tracked southeastward across Lower Red Lake and Red Lake Nation. It then split into two storm cells as it neared the southern edge of the lake and formed one or more tornadoes over the lake, which then tracked onshore.

At 5:13 p.m. the strongest tornado — rated an F1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with peak winds of 95 mph — formed and struck the community of Red Lake, resulting in damage to the college and other structures.

It was first observed over the southern edge of Lower Red Lake and quickly moved onshore just east of Red Lake High School. The tornado appeared to have tracked in a southeastward direction, mainly over ball fields and parking lots, before crossing State Highway 1, near the Red Lake Humanities Center.

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According to the report, though the tornado itself appears to have dissipated at 5:15 p.m. in the forested area and creek bed south of the highway, very large hail and damaging downburst winds persisted over the surrounding area and downstream with this storm.

At 5:16 p.m. the second tornado — also rated an F1 with peak winds of 95 mph — struck just east of Redby. It likely formed over the southern edge of Lower Red Lake which quickly moved onshore east of the community.

The tornado appears to have tracked in a southeastward direction, mainly over heavily forested and thinly populated areas. The tornado appears to have dissipated at 5:22 p.m. and did considerable tree damage. Numerous large evergreen and oak trees were snapped or uprooted along the path, and most debris tracked to the southeast with the rapidly moving storm.

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Hail from Monday night's storm is pictured about 16 miles north of Bemidji between Tenstrike and Turtle River. Submitted photo.

At 5:23 p.m. the third tornado — rated an F0 with peak winds of 80 mph — formed northwest of Nebish. The tornado was likely wrapped in downburst winds, hail and rain. It formed as the storm cell, which spawned the first tornado near Red Lake, re-intensified and continued in a south-southeasterly direction.

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The tornado dissipated at 5:36 p.m. near the west edge of Gull Lake. Numerous poplar and oak trees were snapped along its path, the report said.

Additionally, very large destructive hail was reported along a line from Red Lake to Pennington, with the largest hail reported to be baseball-sized near Pennington.

No fatalities or injuries from the tornadoes were reported.

Bria Barton covers travel and tourism for Forum News Service and is based at the Bemidji Pioneer. A South Carolina native and USC grad, she can be found exploring Minnesota’s abundance of towns, food and culture. Follow her on Instagram @briabarton.
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