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Rainfall arrives in region

Some strong winds, large hail

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Vehicles toss up rain off U.S. Highway 83 south of Minot near the North Central Research and Extension Center. Official rainfall totals are measured for the National Weather Service at the Center.

A lack of rainfall and serious concerns of a developing drought were reversed Monday. A line of thunderstorms brought badly needed rainfall over much of western North Dakota, including the immediate Minot area where young crops and pastures were beginning to struggle under hot and dry conditions.

As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, rainfall totals from the previous 24 hour period ranged from three inches or more in the New Town area to 0.71 inches at the Minot Airport. At the North Central Research and Extension Center south of the city the official total was 0.99 inches. More rain was falling in the Minot area late Tuesday morning, somewhat alleviating what has been one of the driest months of June in recorded history.

Minot’s rainfall for the month, as of Tuesday morning, was 2.94 inches, changing the monthly moisture total from one of the all-time worst performances to near average in 116 years of record keeping, with Tuesday’s rain yet to be added to the June total.

Thunderstorms generally produce very spotty rainfall, with rain totals varying greatly within a few miles or less. However, the storms that swept through western and north central North Dakota Monday were quite widespread.

“Overall I’d have to say we’re seeing more areas get rain but the totals can still vary quite a bit,” said Cory King, National Weather Service meteorologist in Bismarck. “There’s been some pretty decent rainfall totals.”

King’s comment was made Tuesday while another line of thunderstorms was making its way across the state and rain was beginning to fall in Minot.

Bismarck, the epicenter of dry conditions in the state, received 0.80 inches of rain. 1.15 inches settled in the rain gauge at Garrison and 0.57 was reported at Minot Air Force Base.

High winds and hail accompanied the storms in some locations. Top wind speeds in the New Town area were 60-80 miles per hour. Some damage due to wind was reported near Turtle Lake. Large hail struck too, most in the southwest part of the state.

Minot’s weather radar, which is used to track storm activity in the region, has been off-line for several days undergoing repairs. That meant the public’s best look at storm systems moving through the Minot region were from the farthest reaches of radar stationed in Bismarck.

“I know they are working real hard to get it back into service,” said King on Tuesday. “They need a part to come in.”

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