GARRISON A system of severe thunderstorms rolled through Garrison Thursday evening. High winds and hail caused considerable damage. There were no reports of injuries.
Three unoccupied campers were turned over at Sakakawea RV Sales, Service and Park on Highway 37 on the south edge of the community. A short distance away a 80-foot by 100-foot building under construction was leveled.
The National Weather Service issued a Storm Warning for the Garrison area at 6:42 p.m. Thursday. Within the hour the warning was extended due to concerns over the approaching severe weather.
This 80-foot by 100-foot building under construction on the south edge of Garrison was totalled by high winds that struck around 7:45 p.m. Thursday. The building is owned by Soli-Bond Inc.
"Basically it was just a very intense thunderstorm with straight line winds 75 miles per hour would be a reasonable estimate," said Rich Kinney, NWS meteorologist in Bismarck. "It was certainly intense."
Jeff Gerhart, co-owner of Sakakawea RV Sales, was inside his Garrison home when the storm struck.
"I heard her coming. It was just a big roar," said Gerhart. "It sounded like a stampede. The minute you heard it, it was on you."
As soon as the worst of the system had passed over Garrison, Gerhart said he stepped out of the house to check the skies and the damage. Several trees in his yard were knocked down, along with about 35 feet of wooden fence. There were additional reports of trees as large as 25 inches in diameter being uprooted.
Expecting the worst, Gerhart said he called the RV Park and was elated to learn that no one was injured and that no occupied campers had been affected by the wind. Some did sustain hail damage. Three of Gerhart's "for sale" units were tipped over by the strong gusts. One hit the deck on the office building but settled back on its wheels.
A short distance to the east of Sakakawea RV Sales, Service and Park was a nearly completed 80-foot by 100-foot wood frame structure that was to be the future home of Soli-Bond, a waste management company that currently services the Bakken oil field. Soli-Bond also has a shop in Dodge.
According to manager Dennis Dyal, nobody was at the job site when the high winds struck and no one was hurt.
"I saw the storm coming, saw the hail. I was in it," said Dyal. "I checked the building after the first storm and it was okay. Ten minutes later it was on the ground. All the posts were snapped, most right at the ground. The trusses are all splintered. Nothing is salvageable. We'll have to start from scratch."
The framework of the building was in place and half of the roof completed prior to the storm. Dyal said he expected to be able to move into the building around Labor Day. Now, he says, it will likely be several months later.
Although thunderstorms can develop with little warning, the NWS monitors North Dakota weather closely and issues watches and warnings when conditions warrant. The front responsible for spawning the storms that passed through the Garrison area and elsewhere Thursday moved off to the southeast. According to Kinney, the chances of getting any rain in the Minot region through today are relatively remote.