Tornado touches down in Plentywood; heavy winds damage businesses, airport

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UPDATE (5:36 p.m.) – The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado did touch down on the south end of Plentywood on Monday night.

According to preliminary information from their storm survey, the tornado was likely an EF-1 rating.

Although a tornado did touch down, most of the damage in the Plentywood area came from macrobursts with winds of up to 120 miles an hour.

Some of the highest wind speeds were recorded at the Plentywood Airport, where 8 hangars were totally destroyed and 10 small aircraft were damaged or destroyed.

The National Weather Service reports that in town, winds hit 80-100 miles an hour, uprooting trees, and causing damage to homes and businesses.

Taylor Ordahl, a Plentywood resident, said the storm also significantly damaged the county fairgrounds and area farms.

“My families farm…we have about 12,000 acres and about 40-50 percent of it was destroyed,” said Ordahl. “We really are so blessed no one has been hurt in our area.”

Severe storms hammered northeastern Montana and portions of northwest North Dakota on Monday evening an early Tuesday.

A combination of high winds, large hail, and possible tornadoes moved from Saskatchewan across the Canadian border around 7 p.m. Monday.

Based on Doppler radar returns, the National Weather Service office in Glasgow issued a Tornado Warning for Sheridan County, Montana as storm approached Plentywood.

Resident reports through the National Weather Service and social media include extensive damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. Planes were reported overturned at the Plentywood airport, and a radio tower was bent to the ground.

Sheridan Electric Cooperative reports widespread power outages continuing Tuesday morning, including in Plentywood, Outlook and Raymond. Broken poles and downed power lines are common.

The storm system continued on a path in Northwest North Dakota. CBS affiliates there report substantial damage occurred at the Prairie View RV Park near Watford City.

Preliminary reports said 28 people were treated at the McKenzie County Hospital and 6 were reported in critical condition.

Around 17 emergency service agencies responded helped in the effort. Widespread power outages are also reported in that area.

National Weather Service offices in Glasgow and in Bismarck, North Dakota have dispatched teams to assess the storms. Initial reports should be issued later Tuesday or early Wednesday.

by Samantha Harrelson (2018, July 10) MTN News

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Kyrie Wagner