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A storm system moving east brings rain and high winds as a motorist drives west on Grand Forks County Rd. 17 Monday evening. Herald photo by Eric Hylden

Storms move through region

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Storms move through region
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Four inches of rain fell Monday night in just three hours several miles south of Roseau, Minn., and flash flooding was a concern across the region as several rounds of strong and severe thunderstorms rolled through the area, dropping hail, too.

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A tornado watch continued until 10 p.m. across much of the northern Red River Valley, said Bill Barrett, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. The watch area includes Grand Forks and Polk counties and many other parts of the region.

It was replaced at 10 p.m. with a severe thunderstorm watch across most of the region until 4 a.m. today.

Many farm fields are under water, especially in a 30-mile stretch south from Thief River Falls, Barrett said, as heavy rains Monday only added to the 2 inches or more that fell Saturday.

An area five miles south of Wannaska, Minn., south of Roseau, got 4 inches of rain from about 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Barrett said. Other locations in northwestern Minnesota received 2 to 3 inches.

The weather service office, in fact, is so busy it can't get to some of the normal reporting, instead keeping up on the more urgent severe weather warnings and watches, Barrett said.

No injuries

No injuries or serious damage has been reported, despite heavy rains, high winds and hail across the region, said Barrett and area sheriff's department dispatchers.

But enough water has fallen on already soaked ground to make night driving risky in many places across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, Barrett said.

The flash flood warnings for many locations mean people should avoid driving on dark, unfamiliar roadways in particular because fast rising waters can cover roads quickly, Barrett said.

Tornado watches were set to expire at 10 p.m. across the region, but may be replaced by severe thunderstorm warnings as another round of storms still was slated to hit early this morning in the Devils Lake area and southeastern North Dakota, Barrett said.

From 1 to 7 p.m., 0.63 inch of rain fell at UND, Barrett said, and more was falling about 9:30 p.m.

Hail estimated at 0.75 inch in diameter fell near Thief River Falls and near Erskine, Minn., about 7 p.m. Hail a full inch across was reported five miles east of Mayville, N.D., about 6:45 p.m. and hail 1.75 inches across fell near Bejou, Minn., in Mahnomen County.

Sheriff's deputies across the area were out patrolling, watching the storm and looking to help anyone in trouble. There were no reports of injuries.

But it appears crops could be damaged by the hard rains that might leave water standing long enough to stunt plant growth.

Also, a tornado warning was issued at about 3:39 p.m. for southwestern Steele and southeastern Griggs counties in North Dakota as a funnel cloud was reported near Valley City moving to the north at 40 mph.

Water was reported over Interstate 94 at mile-marker 301, which is near Valley City, west of Tower City, N.D., said Trooper Jeremy Buehre of the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The call came in about 6:45 p.m. Monday and officers were responding to assess the problem, he said.

High winds blew a semi-truck Monday evening over on I-94 near Casselton, Buehre said.

The Grand Forks forecast calls for today calls for partly cloudy skies with a high temperature of 75. But it will be windy, the weather service said, with gusts from the south at 20 mph to as high as 34 mph. The rest of the week should be sunny with the next chance of rain coming Saturday night.

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