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Forum Communications Co. report, Published June 18 2010

Three weather service survey teams inspect tornado damage

GRAND FORKS – The National Weather Service has three survey teams inspecting the damage caused by severe storms Thursday night in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

Meteorologist Al Voelker said teams have been sent to damage sites in the Crookston and Mentor, Minn., area, to Wadena, Minn., and to inspect a line of damage from Emerado to Mayville in North Dakota.

Voelker said the weather service knows that tornadoes touched the ground because they’ve seen the evidence in photographs. However, they haven’t classified any of the tornadoes because the investigative teams are still doing their work.

He said the teams likely wouldn’t return to the Grand Forks weather service office until late tonight because “they’ve got a lot to look at.”

Voelker said the tornadoes developed from the same warm, frontal boundary that started in the southern Plains and moved northward through the region.

“It was all basically the same system,” he said. “The system just lifted from south to north during the event.”

Voelker said the tornado outbreak was an “extraordinary” event.

“I’ve been in the weather service 30 years and I’ve never saw anything like that,” he said.

Voelker added that weather service officials are surprised that there weren’t even more tornadoes that developed. Given that the conditions were so ripe to produce tornadoes, he said it was remarkable the region wasn’t hit by more of them.

“There could have been a lot more than we even had,” he said. “It was a fairly extraordinary event.”