Damage assessment and cleanup is underway after strong thunderstorms caused damage in and around Broadwater in Morrill county Thursday evening.
Ron Leal, Region 22 Emergency Management Director, said that the storms caused widespread damage in an area along and north of Highway 92 from the 385 junction to Broadwater.
Leal said that a large shop had the roof ripped off of it and a carport was left tangled. He said there was a lot of tree and pivot irrigation system damage, and numerous power poles were snapped and lines down.
Wheat Belt Public Power District is reporting “significant damage” from the storms, especially in the northern part of their system. They said that their crews, along with additional crews from other power companies, would be working into the night to get things put back together.
Leal said that he is unsure whether the damage was caused by a tornado or downburst winds. He said the National Weather Service is expected to visit the area tomorrow to help make that determination.
KNEB Storm Chaser Dan Fitts was in the Broadwater area when the storm hit. He saw power flashes as the storm approached, but said the main circulation was northwest of Broadwater, and the winds that hit Broadwater were most likely downdrafts from the main storm.
There were reports of 60 to 70 mile per hour winds that blew over a semi on Highway 385 north of Dalton. Fitts reported hail to the size of ping pong balls with the storm near Broadwater. Earlier, when the storm was along Highway 88 west of Redington, Fitts reported golf ball size hail.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next several days, but the threat of severe weather is expected to decrease.