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Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, Published July 25 2009

Hailstorm hammers northwestern Minnesota

CROOKSTON, Minn. – “There wasn’t one car that didn’t get damaged in one way, shape or form,” Bruce Mjoen, a Crookston car salesman, said the day after a hailstorm ripped through parts of northwestern Minnesota.

He described the dents, and broken windshields and tail lights on the 75 to 80 cars on the lot at Brost Chevrolet as devastating.

Observers who have contacted the Grand Forks National Weather Service office have mentioned vehicle damage and trees stripped of leaves, meteorologist Dave Kellenbenz said.

The weather service office reported that hail as big as 2 inches in diameter fell Thursday night in Crookston. Other areas suffered a little bit less. Hail as big as 1¾ inches in diameter fell west of Argyle and northwest of Fisher. North of Fertile and just south of Thief River Falls, the hail was an inch in diameter.

There were also winds as high as 60 mph in some places, Kellenbenz said.

The storm formed just east of East Grand Forks, he said, forming what’s known as a “supercell,” which is a thunderstorm with a rotating updraft that gives it a longer life than most.

The updraft can drive rain high into the atmosphere, where it’scolder, and if there’s a lot of moisture up there, it can condense around the frozen raindrops. The hail falls to earth when it gets too heavy to be supported by the updraft.

At Brost Chevrolet, employees thought the storm would pass north or south of the city, Mjoen said, so they didn’t have time to bring some of the cars into the shop. He said only about 15 or 20 cars could fit. “I think you’re really at the mercy of Mother Nature.”

It’ll be mostly sunny in Crookston today with a chance of showers north and east of there.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.