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Three Weather Areas of Concern Today

Potential Tropical Cyclone Three will gradually approach the northern Gulf Coast with heavy rain and potential flooding. Meanwhile, a sharp cold front will produce severe thunderstorms with significant winds, hail, tornadoes and possible flooding across the Ohio Valley. Finally, a large dome of high pressure will continue the major heat wave over the West, extending into the central Plains. Read More >


On the evening of Thursday, May 16th, 1996, an area of thunderstorms developed off the Bighorns Mountains in northeast Wyoming, moving northeast into south central North Dakota. These thunderstorms formed into a bow echo, which is a band of storms that takes on a curved, or bowed shape, that is typically associated with a threat of strong winds. The first reports of damage came in Hettinger County when a barn in North Lemmon was damaged and its debris was carried over 1/2 mile away. As the bow echo moved into Grant and Sioux Counties, it caused a significant amount of damage in the towns of Leith, Carson, and Raleigh with wind gusts around 80 mph. In Carson, a 400 gallon gasoline tank was tipped over and spilled the majority of its contents, and the roof of a local grain elevator was ripped off. Nearby in Leith and Raleigh, a grain elevator was destroyed, large trees were downed, and many buildings were damaged or destroyed.

The highest measured wind gust of the day was 126 mph, reported by a farmer in Heil, whose equipment broke soon after measuring that gust. The line of storms continued to move northeast, with damage in Cannonball, before reaching the Bismarck/Mandan area with wind gusts around 80 mph. Boats in the dry dock at Marina Bay were overturned, a small plane at the Bismarck Airport was flipped, and a mobile home was destroyed. The storm continued its path northeast, with more homes damaged or destroyed in Steele. Winds finally subsided to around 60 mph in Jamestown and Ellendale as the storm weakened and moved into eastern North Dakota. Damage from the entire event was estimated to be well into the millions, with 5 injuries reported. 

For a complete list of storm reports, click here

Radar imagery from KBIS around 11:20 PM CDT on Thursday, May 16th. 
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