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Forum staff report, Published July 24 2009

Hail pounds areas of northwest Minn., eastern N.D.

UPDATED 10:23 a.m.

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Hailstones 1 to 2 inches in diameter pounded parts of Crookston Thursday night, including an auto dealership where the owner estimates damage at $100,000 to $200,000.

“I think every car in the lot’s got dents on it,” Allen Brost, owner of Brost Chevrolet, told WDAY Radio. “It’s just a matter of some cars and trucks are worse than others.”

Brost said the damage is consistent with reports of golf ball- to egg-sized hail. Some vehicles have broken sunroofs and “huge” dents, he said.

The damage comes at a particularly bad time for the dealership as the federal “Cash for Clunkers” program takes effect today, Brost said.

“We’ve got vehicles that are tentatively sold. Now we’ve got them with hail damage. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We have to get the insurance adjusters out here,” he said.

Other reports Thursday night included 0.88-inch hail east of Buxton, N.D.; 1.75-inch stones near Argyle, Minn., and Fisher, Minn.; and 1-inch hail in Thief River Falls, Minn., and near Fertile, Minn., according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D.

Early reports indicate the hail storm caused some severe crop damage north and west of Crookston, said Andrew Svek, director of communications at the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Larry Smith, the director of the Northwest Research and Outreach Center at U of M-Crookston, said his organization hopes to have damage assessments to the center's 1,500 acres of crops by Monday. But it was slow going because some fields were too wet to inspect Friday morning.