Christopher Muller, director of emergency management for Beltrami District, reported that large hailstones from golf ball to baseball size were the dominant feature of the storm and were responsible for most of the damage in the district.
The storm, which likely had winds in excess of 60 miles per hour, hit Redby and Red Lake particularly hard. The cities of Blackduck, Tenstrike and Pennington as well as parts of southeast Beltrami and Cass Counties also experienced the storm, said meteorologist Carl Jones of the National Weather Service Grand Forks.
“There will obviously be some broken windows, gross damage to homes and buildings, and side damage to houses due to the large hail,” said Müller.
The hail from Monday night’s storm is pictured about 25 km north of Bemidji between Tenstrike and Turtle Rivers. Submitted photo.
Georgia Downwind, who lives between Redby and Red Lake, said she has never seen a storm like it did on Monday night. When she got home from work, she found that everything had looked normal outside at first. But within minutes the sky darkened and the wind began to whip – and then the hail came.
“We have never had anything like it in my entire life. We’ve had storms, but nothing like it, ”she said. “We had hail that was bigger than golf balls that just slammed the house and destroyed everything. It was so loud and scary. “
“I thought, what are we doing, where are we going?” She added.
Failing to get her 94-year-old mother into her basement, she said her only option was to weather the storm in the upper part of her two-level home for the 15 to 20 terrible minutes.
The storms generated at least one tornado report in Red Lake. On Tuesday, a National Weather Service meteorologist examined the area to confirm or disprove the report. The results will be released in about a day, Jones said.
“This storm falls into a supercell thunderstorm. A super cell is essentially a storm that has a rotation in it. The entire storm is spinning, but just because it’s spinning itself doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a tornado, ”said Jones. “These particular storms have a track record of generating the more damaging types of dangerous weather like hail and wind and can create tornadoes.”
There were also a few additional storms stretching further east as far as Grand Rapids and the Iron Range as far as Duluth and parts of Wisconsin, Jones noted.
In the Red Lake area, Downwind went outside after the storm subsided and discovered a sea of ice in her garden.
“There was so much hail that it was hard to walk – it was slippery,” she said. “Then it started to melt and there was water all over my garden.”
She inspected the damage and found golf ball-sized dents all over her car, a broken windshield, and broken mirrors. The exterior of her house and a window were also damaged, along with plants that were “pounded into the ground.”
Georgia Downwind’s home in Red Lake suffered severe hail damage in the Monday night storm that rolled through the area. Submitted photo.
“It really hit my car and my house,” she said. “The back of my house looks like Edward scissorhands made a number back there. My daughter lives down the street and her house was really beaten up. She had no more windows. “
Though she currently has nowhere to go, Downwind said she heard of other damage – like a bent flagpole on the tribal council building and disrupted powwow grounds – and trees in the area. She said people also have to board house windows until they can be repaired.
Georgia Downwind’s car and Red Lake home suffered severe hail damage in the Monday night storm that rolled through the area. Submitted photo.
As of now, Downwind is waiting for feedback from her insurance company so that the repairs to her house and car can begin – even though she suspects that her car can no longer be saved. No injuries were reported from the storm and Downwind sees this as a ray of hope amid the damage.
“As long as we’re safe, that’s all that counts,” she said. “It will work out, but it will only take time. I trust that. “