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Weather and fireworks pack a punch on July 4

Posted 7/07/15 (Tue)

Weather and fireworks pack a punch on July 4

By John D. Taylor
Between 3:30 and 3:50 p.m., on Saturday afternoon, Crosby saw some of nature’s version of July 4th fireworks, as a wind, hail and rain storm unleashed its fury.
The storm dinged car tops, smashed storm windows and screens, broke vinyl siding panels and thrashed gardens, especially in the northwest portion of the city.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Simosko, the storm dropped “quite a variety” of hail across the region for about 20 minutes, 
Simosko has reports of hail ranging from 1 to 3 inches in diameter, along with high winds and heavy rain from law enforcement, the general public and trained weather observers.
For example, five miles east of Crosby, at 3:47 p.m., a trained weather observer reported golf-ball sized hail.
While seven miles northwest of town, another reported 50 mph winds and 1.75-inch hail. The larger hail reports,  from 2.75 to 3 inches came from public observations in Crosby.
This same storm later hammered Ray with 65 mph winds that caused extensive tree damage and tipped grain bins in Ward County.
Local insurance agents were busy Monday gathering reports of damage and assessing the claims.
Brad Johnson, of Brad Johnson Insurance, said he had several inquiries from people who live out of town about their properties in town
Johnson was out of town Saturday, but looked things over Monday to assess the damages. He thought the north end of town was hardest hit. Yet, south of ND 5, in Noonan, they had no rain or hail.
Johnson’s Main Street office had some metal siding hail damage, but his home, pickup and outdoor furniture behind the office, had no damage, although his garden’s corn and tomato plants were damaged.
Johnson said those with damage report their losses to their insurers and take things from there.
Kristi Haugenoe, of American Family Insurance also received “a fair share” of claims Monday; about half from homeowners, half for automobile damage. She advised people to report damages quickly, to get an adjuster faster.
Crop damage reports were slow coming in Monday.
Johnson said federal crop programs pay a guaranteed per bushel amount to farmers whose crops are damaged, and will keep a farmer afloat financially. But only private hail insurance covers possible lost profits from storms. County Agent Keith Brown expects crop damage to focus on small grains, because most have formed heads and any damage below the head won’t allow the plant to recover.
When Brown was coming through Columbus Saturday evening, he didn’t notice any crop damage from the storm there. Yet his garden’s squash, cucumbers, and other tall plants with big leaves and beans got smacked.
Still, Brown put things in perspective.
“We’re lucky we didn’t have big hail, that it wasn’t numerous. If it would have hailed for a few minutes, there would have been nothing left.”