Another episode of hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes lashed portions of northwestern and northern Minnesota during the evening and overnight hours of Friday June 24 into early Saturday June 25, 2022.
The night before had been bumpy in its own right, with isolated large hail and and extreme rains in central Minnesota. More thunderstorms developed in far northwestern parts of the state during Friday afternoon, with several large and intense cells forming in the Dakotas. These storms in the Dakotas became the evening's main event, as they grew "upscale" into even larger, fast-moving complexes that raced into northwestern and northern portions of Minnesota.
The storms produced at least two confirmed tornadoes within pockets of damaging wind gusts over 70 mph, including an 88 mph gust measured in East Grand Forks, and 83 mph measured near Lengby in Polk County. The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-2 tornado tracked 31 miles through parts of Becker and Wadena counties around and just after 10 PM, with winds estimated to 115 mph and a maximum width of 600 yards (about a third of a mile). Another EF-1 tornado was confirmed to have struck Naytahwaush in Mahnomen County about 45 minutes to an hour earlier.
The tornadoes and winds uprooted and snapped trees, knocked out power, and caused structural damage sporadically from eastern North Dakota through the Red Lake, Bemidji, Park Rapids, Walker, and Grand Rapids areas.
By all measures, this was a major severe weather event. Yet, despite the tornadoes, strong winds, and extensive damages, it was only moderate by 2022 standards. For example, the storms earlier in the week appeared to pack a more powerful punch, and the storms on both Memorial Day and May 12th may have been an even higher category of severity yet. Indeed, the first months of the 2022 severe weather season have been very active.
July 1, 2022