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Storm drenches Havre, Hi-Line

Drops half-inch or more in half hour, .88 inch hail, brings 50 mph wind gusts

 

August 6, 2014

Eric Seidle

Fallen tree branches cover Jacob Smith's car, causing body damage and breaking windows, in Havre Tuesday evening after a severe thunderstorm blew through the area.

A severe thunderstorm drenched the Havre area Tuesday evening, bringing 50 mph wind gusts, nearly inch-wide hail and at least a half-inch of rain in some 20 to 30 minutes, and causing power flickers and outages.

Terry Turner, who lives a few miles southeast of Havre, said he saw .8 inches of rain at his house in 15 minutes.

He said his rain gutters couldn't handle the downpour.

"It was like a waterfall coming off my roof ... ," he said. "My sidewalk was a cement river."

National Weather Service did not have much information about the storm early this morning, but some spotter reports were in.

The first reports were from Kremlin, with a 39 mph wind gust reported at 7:40 p.m. and .46 inches of rain reported 14 minutes later.

In Havre, a wind gust of 39 mph was recorded at the Havre City-County Airport at 8:12 p.m. and .46 inches of rain at 8:21 p.m.

A caller reported a 50 mph wind gust 4 miles west of Havre at 8:22 p.m. and three callers reported .88-inch hail in Havre from 8:28 to 8:36 p.m.

Havre Fire Department Chief Dave Shepherd said there were six small grass fires that firefighters were called to extinguish.

The fire calls began at 8:20 p.m. and the last was made at 9:16. Shepherd said the fires were caused by either the lightning strikes before the rain or by falling branches taking out power lines, causing them to arc.

"The grass fires were self-extinguished for the most part once the rain started," Shepherd said.

There was not a lot of property damage caused by the fires, Shepherd said, but a tree was blown over completely by the high winds.

Havre Public Works Director David Peterson said his office has a lot of cleanup work to do today.

He said there are many trees that were blown down, so in addition to those, they will be cleaning the streets, storm drains and anything else in the city that was affected by the storm.

"We had a couple water breaks due the power outages as well," Peterson said.

However, there was no major damage caused by the storm to any city property that he had seen so far, he said, though he has seen private properties damaged by falling trees.

Jacob Smith was one of the people who experienced damages from the storm.

"I was on my way out to move the car," Smith wrote in a text message to a Havre Daily News reporter. He said his girlfriend begged him not to go, so he waited a minute.

"Then, boom," he wrote. "If I'd of been out there, I'd have been dead for sure. The timing was perfect."

There were also reports of scattered power outages in the area caused by the storm.

 

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