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By Tom Lawrence, Forum Communications Co., Published June 11 2010

Storms pound more than 5 inches of rain on Mitchell, S.D.

MITCHELL, S.D. – “Wow!” … That’s what a National Weather Service meteorologist said as he reviewed the storms that passed through Mitchell on Thursday and early Friday.

Mike Fuhs, of the weather service, said powerful storms blasted through this corner of the state in a short period.

A total of 5.02 inches of rain fell in two large storms in Mitchell — one Thursday morning, when 2.12 inches were recorded, and another 2.9 inches that hammered down between midnight and 2 this morning.

It was the rainiest two-day period in the city in more than a century, according to NWS records.

“We’ve been looking at the records, and boy, you are close.” Fuhs said.

The two-day record is 5.25 inches, set May 13-14, 1908. Another small storm today would set the all-time record, Fuhs noted. Today’s forecast includes a chance of thunderstorms.

The storm brought with it high winds, sharp lightning and booming thunder that shook homes and more than a few nerves.

The Mitchell Municipal Airport reported winds of 45 mph at 1 a.m.

“Sometimes these airports are a little sheltered compared to other areas,” Fuhs said. “So Mitchell had winds of 45 to 50 miles per hour around 1 a.m.”

For the year, Mitchell is at 11.63 inches of precipitation, putting the city 1.4 inches above normal.

The forecast calls for a wet weekend, Fuhs said.

“There’s definitely chances for showers and thunderstorms,” he said. “There will likely be some showers around.”

Tom Lawrence is a reporter at The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.