Strong winds reported near Gilby, tornado not confirmed by National Weather Service

Lightning lights the sky in a south Grand Forks neighborhood on Friday, Sept. 20. (Herald photo)

Strong storms with high winds are passing through the Grand Forks area.

The Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office had posted about a potential tornado touchdown 10 miles north of the Grand Forks Air Force Base, near Gilby. However, as of 9:08 p.m., the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office has update its post to say a tornado was not able to be confirmed with data from radars. Officials from the National Weather Service were also unable to confirm if there was a tornado touchdown, but noted strong winds had been reported in that area along with some damage.

The meteorologist said a survey would need to be done to assess whether a tornado did cause the reported damage. More information may be available Saturday morning on the storm's strength. The weather service had not received any photos of a tornado on the ground as of 8:45 p.m., which would be another way to confirm a twister.


Heavy rain also appears to be on its way to Grand Forks.

A line of storms is moving through the Red River Valley, bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain and possible cloud rotation. Weather forecasters in the region are predicting potentially heavy rainfall in Grand Forks in the coming hours. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Grand Forks, Polk, Steele and Traill counties until 8:30 p.m.

Sprinkles began to fall in Grand Forks at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday evening, just as a football game between Grand Forks Central and Fargo Shanley was finishing. A steadier rain hit the city at 7:45.

Stronger weather at present looms to the south of Grand Forks, with weather sirens being sounded in towns like Fargo and Argusville. A tornado warning was posted for the area around Gardner at around 7:50 p.m. A wall cloud was sited near Argusville.

Storm clouds with rotation also were reported by WDAY northwest of Fargo.

All of the storms continue to move north, with a primary threat being intense lightning and very heavy rain. At 7:50, one cluster of storms was moving toward Mayville, Hillsboro, Thompson, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Another cluster of storms was moving into and through Devils Lake.

There likely will be isolated hail within the storms and potentially damaging winds. Some areas could see more than 2 inches of rain, according to WDAY.

Meanwhile, the North Dakota towns along the Canadian border have seen strong storms, too.


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