Severe Storms Strike Northland Again: July 20-21, 2016

Power Outage Map from July 21, 2016
Power Outage Map from July 21, 2016
Courtesy: Minnesota Power

 

The stormy mid-summer of 2016 continues, with severe storms striking northern Minnesota yet again.

A line of intense thunderstorms swept across Minnesota during the overnight hours of July 20-21. Damage was widespread across the northern quarter of the state, with pockets of concentrated damage noted near Bemidji, the Brainerd Lakes area, Duluth, and the Boundary Waters.

This round of severe weather struck many of the same areas affected by extreme winds on June 19th, torrential rains on July 11-12, and damaging hail and winds on July 19-20, just one night earlier.

The storms formed in central North Dakota during the afternoon of July 20 and moved into northwest Minnesota at dusk. A wind gust of 83mph was clocked at the Hallock Airport in Kittson County at 9:34pm. The storms continued to move to the east and southeast causing damage as they went, including flipping over planes at the Bemidji Airport and peeling off roofs on steel-clad buildings in town. At 1am July 21 the storms reached Park Rapids in Hubbard County and downed trees. A wind gust was measured at 55mph at the Park Rapids Airport.

By 3am the storms moved into the Duluth area, where the ground was saturated from previous storms, making it even easier for the strong winds to topple large trees. Widespread power outages resulted, and at least 75,000 Minnesota Power customers lost service. The storms also moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, tragically killing two campers on Basswood Lake in Quetico, just across the Minnesota border in Ontario.

Power Outage Map from July 21, 2016
Tree Down in North Branch along Highway 61.
Courtesy:Patrice Ramaley
 

The southern edge of the storms also moved through the Twin Cities metro area between 3:30 and 5am, with gusty winds out ahead of the storms waking people out of bed and causing minor tree damage along with spotty power outages.

Perhaps the only real "benefit" of the stormy night was its effect on the ongoing heat wave. Overnight temperatures had been stuck in the unusually warm low and mid-80s at many locations, but the cooler air rushing out ahead of the storms dropped temperatures into the low 70s. This storm-aided cooling took the edge off the intense heat later in the afternoon, with highs topping out in the high 80s to mid-90s, as opposed to the low 90s to near 100 that had been forecast. 

 

National Weather Service Storm Summaries

This damaging thunderstorm wind event appears to fit the definition of a derecho (pronounced "deh-rey-cho"), because it produced a nearly continuous swath of damage reports exceeding 250 miles in length, with some spatially distinct gusts of at least 75 mph. As a testament to this storm's reach, many different NWS offices were affected and produced event summaries:


 

Below are storm reports gathered by the National Weather Service

 

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EASTERN ND/GRAND FORKS ND
1238 PM CDT THU JUL 21 2016

..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
            ..REMARKS..

0810 PM     HAIL             2 N ROCKLAKE            48.82N 99.25W
07/20/2016  E1.00 INCH       TOWNER             ND   PUBLIC

0815 PM     TSTM WND GST     1 N BAKER               48.18N 99.65W
07/20/2016  M65.00 MPH       BENSON             ND   MESONET

            PEAK WIND MEASURED BY THE NDAWN SENSOR.

0815 PM     TSTM WND DMG     8 NNW ESMOND            48.14N 99.83W
07/20/2016                   BENSON             ND   CO-OP OBSERVER

            TREES UPROOTED. POWER OUTAGES.

0833 PM     TSTM WND GST     LEEDS                   48.29N 99.44W
07/20/2016  E60.00 MPH       BENSON             ND   PUBLIC

0930 PM     TSTM WND GST     1 W BOWESMONT           48.69N 97.20W
07/20/2016  M53.00 MPH       PEMBINA            ND   MESONET

            PEAK WIND MEASURED AT THE RWIS ALONG INTERSTATE 29.

0934 PM     TSTM WND GST     HALLOCK                 48.77N 96.94W
07/20/2016  M83.00 MPH       KITTSON            MN   ASOS

0940 PM     TSTM WND GST     2 WSW DONALDSON         48.56N 96.94W
07/20/2016  M51.00 MPH       KITTSON            MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE RWIS SENSOR ALONG HWY 11.

1047 PM     TSTM WND GST     3 NE BADGER             48.81N 95.97W
07/20/2016  M54.00 MPH       ROSEAU             MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE RWIS STATION ALONG HWY 11.

1055 PM     TSTM WND GST     2 NW TABOR              48.10N 96.89W
07/20/2016  M65.00 MPH       POLK               MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT A PERSOANL WEATHER STATION.

1103 PM     TSTM WND GST     10 W ADA                47.30N 96.73W
07/20/2016  M52.00 MPH       NORMAN             MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE HWY 200 RWIS SENSOR.

1117 PM     TSTM WND GST     5 NNE HILLSBORO         47.47N 97.02W
07/20/2016  M51.00 MPH       TRAILL             ND   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT A PERSONAL WEATHER STATION.

1141 PM     TSTM WND GST     5 WNW HOPE              47.35N 97.82W
07/20/2016  M58.00 MPH       STEELE             ND   TRAINED SPOTTER

            PEAK WIND MEASURED AT A PERSONAL WEATHER STATION.
            COMMERCIAL POWER IS OUT IN THAT AREA.

1151 PM     TSTM WND GST     1 N ADA                 47.31N 96.51W
07/20/2016  M53.00 MPH       NORMAN             MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE NDAWN STATION.

1203 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 NNW FARGO             46.92N 96.84W
07/21/2016  M69.00 MPH       CASS               ND   ASOS

            PEAK WIND OF 60 KNOTS MEASURED AT THE FARGO AIRPORT
            /KFAR/.

1204 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 S WAUKON              47.33N 96.13W
07/21/2016  M51.00 MPH       NORMAN             MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE NDAWN STATION.

1205 AM     TSTM WND DMG     10 SE FERTILE           47.43N 96.14W
07/21/2016                   NORMAN             MN   TRAINED SPOTTER

            TWO BOX ELDER TREES DOWNED. THE LARGER TREE WAS
            APPROXIMATELY 2 FEET IN DIAMETER.

1208 AM     HAIL             18 S BAUDETTE           48.45N 94.59W
07/21/2016  M2.00 INCH       LAKE OF THE WOODS  MN   PUBLIC

            PICTURE RELAYED FROM BROADCAST MEDIA VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

1210 AM     TSTM WND DMG     HORACE                  46.76N 96.90W
07/21/2016                   CASS               ND   BROADCAST MEDIA

            TIN ROOF DAMAGED.

1211 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 S THIEF RIVER FALLS   48.07N 96.18W
07/21/2016  M51.00 MPH       PENNINGTON         MN   AWOS

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE THIEF RIVER FALLS AIRPORT
            /KTVF/.

1211 AM     TSTM WND GST     4 S MAHNOMEN            47.26N 95.97W
07/21/2016  M71.00 MPH       MAHNOMEN           MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE RWIS ALONG HWY 59.

1215 AM     TSTM WND DMG     4 E WASKISH             48.16N 94.43W
07/21/2016                   BELTRAMI           MN   CO-OP OBSERVER

            MAPLE TREE OF 5 TO 6 INCH DIAMETER WAS UPROOTED. SMALLER
            TWIGS BLOWN SOME 200 FEET FROM TREE.

1217 AM     TSTM WND GST     2 SE DILWORTH           46.85N 96.67W
07/21/2016  M55.00 MPH       CLAY               MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE RWIS STATION ALONG INTERSTATE
            94.

1228 AM     TSTM WND GST     2 W LAKE PARK           46.88N 96.14W
07/21/2016  M56.00 MPH       BECKER             MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE LAKE PARK RWIS ALONG HIGHWAY
            10.

1235 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 W DETROIT LAKES       46.81N 95.91W
07/21/2016  M67.00 MPH       BECKER             MN   AWOS

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE DETROIT LAKES AIRPORT /KDTL/.

1244 AM     TSTM WND DMG     1 SE DETROIT LAKES      46.80N 95.83W
07/21/2016                   BECKER             MN   LAW ENFORCEMENT

            LARGE TREE BRANCHES AND LIMBS BROKEN DOWN AROUND TOWN.

1250 AM     TSTM WND DMG     2 NE LAKE ITASCA        47.27N 95.18W
07/21/2016                   CLEARWATER         MN   PUBLIC

            TWO TREE REPORTED SNAPPED IN A YARD.

1258 AM     TSTM WND DMG     WILTON                  47.51N 94.99W
07/21/2016                   BELTRAMI           MN   LAW ENFORCEMENT

            MATURE TREES BROKEN DOWN IN WILTON. POWER LINES DOWN AS
            WELL.

0100 AM     TSTM WND DMG     7 NNW PARK RAPIDS       47.01N 95.12W
07/21/2016                   HUBBARD            MN   TRAINED SPOTTER

            ESTIMATED 70 MPH WINDS SUFFICIENT TO UPROOT 3 LARGE TREES
            APPROXIMATELY 12 INCHES IN DIAMETER. SOIL SOFTENED BY
            RECENT RAINFALL.

0102 AM     TSTM WND DMG     4 ENE EMMAVILLE         47.09N 94.90W
07/21/2016                   HUBBARD            MN   TRAINED SPOTTER

            LARGE TREE BRANCHES AND LIMBS BROKEN DOWN AROUND CAMP
            WILDERNESS. POWER OUTAGE REPORTED.

0105 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 S PARK RAPIDS         46.87N 95.06W
07/21/2016  M55.00 MPH       HUBBARD            MN   AWOS

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT TEH PARK RAPIDS AIRPORT /KPKD/.

0105 AM     TSTM WND GST     3 WNW BEMIDJI           47.50N 94.94W
07/21/2016  M60.00 MPH       BELTRAMI           MN   AWOS

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE BEMIDJI AIRPORT /KBJI/.

0113 AM     TSTM WND DMG     BEMIDJI                 47.48N 94.88W
07/21/2016                   BELTRAMI           MN   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS LARGE TREES BROKEN DOWN AROUND TOWN. ROOFING
            BLOWN OFF BUILDINGS.

0115 AM     TSTM WND GST     CHAMBERLAIN             46.91N 94.72W
07/21/2016  M52.00 MPH       HUBBARD            MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT THE RWIS ON HWY 64.

0125 AM     TSTM WND GST     6 ENE PELICAN RAPIDS    46.60N 95.97W
07/21/2016  M60.00 MPH       OTTER TAIL         MN   MESONET

            PEAK WINDS MEASURED AT A PERSONAL WEATHER STATION.
Last modified: July 21, 2016
For more information contact: climate@umn.edu