Thunderstorm drops heavy rain, hail on northwest Grand Forks County

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks issued a flash flood warning for northwestern Grand Forks County at 6:49 p.m., Thursday, July 15.

Heavy rains 10 miles northeast of Larimore, ND, leave wheat and soybeans submerged Thursday, July 15, 2021. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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LARIMORE, N.D. – A powerful, slow moving thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon dumped as much as 9 inches of rain on farms and fields north of Larimore, drowning crops and washing out roads.

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks issued a flash flood warning for northwestern Grand Forks County at 6:49 p.m., Thursday, July 15, and continued until 9:45 a.m. Friday, July 16. The north branch of the Turtle River was flooding, and there was potential for it to impact Turtle River State Park Thursday night and Friday morning, the weather service said. There also were several county roads washed out, resulting in road closures.

From several inches to several feet of water still flowed in ditches along North Dakota Highway 18 north of Larimore at about 8:30 p.m., about four hours after the rains had ended. Further north and east, parts of wheat and soybean fields were submerged, and water gushed over the gravel road adjacent to them. Water also had pooled in some farmsteads along the road.

Brent Trosen, who lives several miles north of Larimore, had about 5 inches of rain in his gauge, he said, on Thursday night. The rain began about 2:30 p.m., and lasted for about an hour and a half, he said. It also hailed, and winds accompanied the storm.

The hail was pea-sized, and it lasted for several minutes, Trosen said. Some corn and soybean fields along Highway 18 north of Larimore appeared to have been damaged by the hail. The plants’ leaves were shredded, and some of the corn also was tipped over by the winds. The wind also blew branches off of shelterbelts along some of the gravel roads.


It was too early to tell on Thursday night the extent of the hail and water damage to his crops, Trosen said.

“I hope for the best,” he said.

Brenda Rethemeier, who lives about a few miles northeast of Trosen, was driving home at about 2:30 p.m. from Larimore, where no rain had fallen, when she had to pull over on the shoulder because the rain was coming down so hard that she couldn’t see the highway, she said.

“It rained super heavy for about half an hour or 45 minutes,” she said. The rain continued off and on for another hour before it quit. Her rain gauge had about 2.75 inches in it, Rethemeier said.

There also were unofficial reports of 6 inches of rain, and the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said up to 9 inches fell in some areas of northwest Grand Forks County.


Heavy rain and hail damage a field of corn several miles north of Larimore, ND, along ND Highway 18. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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