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Published July 30 2010

Tuesday's storm damage in Barnes County caused by tornado

GRAND FORKS – The National Weather Service says it was an EF-2 tornado that damaged buildings and uprooted trees in northern Barnes County early Tuesday.

A weather service survey team visited the Sibley, N.D., area Thursday to assess damage from the storms and rated the tornado as an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The tornado went from about 2 miles east of Sibley to 11 miles north of Tower City in Cass County. It started at about 12:30 a.m. and continued until about 1 a.m. Its path was about 18 miles long, and it had a maximum width of four-tenths of a mile, the weather service said.

The initial touchdown occurred at a farmstead about 2 miles east of Sibley. Several Quonsets were heavily damaged, and one was totally destroyed, the weather service said. Numerous trees were uprooted, and a grain bin was destroyed and carried for a quarter-mile. Many other grain bins were also heavily damaged.

Wind speeds at that location were estimated at around 110 mph, or a low-end EF-2 tornado.

The most significant damage was done to a farmstead about 3 miles south of Pillsbury. A Quonset building was destroyed, and 2 other well-built large farm equipment storage buildings were heavily damaged with the roof torn off of each building. The debris was deposited about a quarter-mile away from this farmstead. The damage indicated wind speeds of 120 mph at this farmstead, or EF2 damage.

The damage also indicated that a weaker EF-1 satellite tornado occurred to the south of the main tornado about 3 miles into the path of the main tornado, with wind speeds up to 95 mph causing significant tree damage in some areas.

The survey team also found widespread straight-line wind damage in portions of western Barnes County into Cass County. The most significant damage was noted about 13 miles south of Hannaford near the Barnes and Griggs county line, where wind speeds were estimated near 100 mph and significant tree damage was noted over a widespread area.