Many Minot and area residents were awakened Saturday by an early morning storm ripping through the area with high winds knocking down trees and power lines and doing other damage, along with heavy rain and some hail.
The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning for Burke, Mountrail and Ward Counties Saturday morning and there was a severe thunderstorm warning.
Power outages were reported throughout the area. Tom Rafferty, community relations manager for Verendrye Electric, said about 120 people remained without power in the company's service area as of late Saturday afternoon, though the company planned to restore power by evening. About 300 people in northeast Minot and rural areas north of Minot were initially left without power in Verendrye's service area. Rafferty said the company had seven damaged poles and several damaged electrical conductors. Fewer than 200 people, mostly in the Des Lacs area, were left without power by the storm, said Mark Nisbet, Dakota principal manager for Xcel Energy.
Trees and tree branches near the Milton Young Towers parking lot were knocked down by the winds of a major thunderstorm that passed by Minot early Saturday morning.
Minot Air Force Base recorded wind gusts at the base up to about 93 mph, said Tech. Sgt. Mark Bell, superintendent of the base Public Affairs Office.
He said the storm toppled and broke children's slide and swing sets, strewed or pushed around things like barbecue grills and garbage cans, and broke limbs off trees. The storm hit the base around 6:30 a.m.
Damage was also reported around the area, according to The Associated Press, which reported a 30-foot sailboat crashed through the window of a home in Granville and high winds in Mountrail County destroyed an old church storage building and overturned several campers.
Jim Tarasenko, research specialist at the North Central Research and Extension Center south of Minot, said at 8 a.m. Saturday, he recorded 0.72 inch of rainfall that had fallen at the center in the past 24-hour period. A spokesman with the National Weather Service in Bismarck said the storm total was 0.81 inch for Minot and 0.49 for Minot Air Force Base.
In Minot, there were also reports of downed trees or tree limbs and power outages in some areas of the city
At Milton Young Towers in southeast Minot, two trees were uprooted and fell across three parked cars in the east parking lot. Residents Albert Borgman, Jackie Halpain and David Johnson said they did not hear the trees crash, but they were awakened around 6:30 a.m. by heavy rain and strong wind gusts. Borgman said one of the uprooted trees must have stood close to 50 feet tall since its tip reached the fifth floor of Milton Young Towers. Residents enjoyed seeing the trees outside their windows. Halpain said they added a bit of color to the place.
On Saturday afternoon a large crowd of residents had gathered outside the building and were covering the broken front and back windows of one of the damaged vehicles.
The threat to western North Dakota has passed, but the National Weather Service reports that more storms were possible Saturday night for eastern North Dakota.