Sudden storm dumps heavy rain

It didn’t last very long but it certainly was intense. Minot was centered in the path of a storm cell that packed heavy rain, wind and hail Wednesday night. Fortunately, the storm was short lived. While the deluge didn’t last long, it lasted long enough to flood roadways and low sections of the city as storm drains struggled to handle torrential rainfall.

At 6:14 p.m. Wednesday the National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook that included the Minot area. The outlook warned “some thunderstorms could become severe with large hail and damaging winds this evening.”

At 6:47 p.m., when the full intensity of the storm was realized, the NWS issued a Flood Advisory for north central North Dakota, warning that “excessive rainfall will cause minor street flooding to occur in Minot, Logan and Surrey.”

There were unconfirmed reports of up to five inches of rain falling in some areas near the city but official rainfall totals were less. Official rainfall totals ranged from 2.23 inches at the North Central Research and Extension Center south of Minot to .77 inches at the Minot Airport. An independent weather observer on Minot’s North Hill reported 1.19 inches of rain. Lansford reported .05 inches and a mere .01 inches was recorded at the Minot Air Force Base, indicating the relatively small size of the potent storm.

Hail of varying sizes accompanied the storm. Hailstones ranged from pea size in north Minot to marble size in other sections of the city. The wind increased with the storm but never reached enough velocity to be of concern other than redirecting rainfall through open windows.

The rapid rainfall caused the usual flooding in Minot, such as the Sixth Street and 16th Street underpasses. Minot Police and Fire Department units were kept busy responding to calls of motorists stranded in high water at several points in the city but no serious injuries or complications were reported as high water drained away from most of the trouble spots shortly after the storm passed.

Heavy rain during June is to be expected. Historically it is the month in which Minot records an average of 3.58 inches of rain, the most of any month. May is the second rainiest month on record in Minot with a 2.50 average, more than an inch less than the June average. According to NWS data, the record rainfall for June 4 in Minot is 3.70 inches recorded in 1914.

While storms dumping two inches or more of rain are rare, such events have occurred previously during June in Minot. NWS records show June owning 11 record dates of two inches or more of rainfall.

Minot’s June precipitation total at the Airport reporting station, which includes Wednesday’s storm, is 1.38 inches. For the year the Airport reports 5.19 inches of precipitation. That compares to 7.09 inches of yearly precipitation recorded at the Experiment Station. Average yearly rainfall at the Minot Airport is 17.19 inches.