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Late Season Twisters


North Dakota is no stranger to adverse weather. Although the state tends to be best known across the country for its blizzards and snowstorms, the region is also a frequent victim of tornadoes and thunderstorms. However, it was a rare day indeed when, on this date thirteen years ago, the state witnessed not only rain, wind, and hail … but tornadoes and snowstorms!

Around 1:30 in the afternoon of November 1st, 2000, residents of Bismarck and Mandan began to notice strange cloud formations. The day had been pleasant, with warmer than average temperatures and little wind, but beginning that morning a cold front began moving in from the northwest. The difference in air temperature created an unstable atmosphere as the warmer air rose above the cold front. Swirling clouds early in the afternoon began to form dozens of funnels. At 1:55 p.m., the sirens in Bismarck began to sound, and as tornadoes touched down on the north side of the city, an emergency command center was set up downtown. Two F1 tornadoes skirted the northwestern edge of town, while three additional tornadoes touched down in rural areas farther north. Parents arriving to pick up their children at school joined them inside, crouching together in basements and bathrooms.

In north Bismarck, over forty homes were damaged from the tornadoes; one when camper trailer was tossed into the side of a house, while a few streets over, a garage tore away from its attached home. As the tornadoes passed, the city remained under a thunderstorm advisory.

Meanwhile, rain drenched the northeastern corner of the state, and much of the west was under a snowstorm and blizzard warning. Most of the tri-state region was under high wind advisories, and the Montana-North Dakota border was expecting 5 to 10 inches of snow. And yes, there was even hail expected overnight in some counties. The day of the latest recorded tornado in North Dakota proved eventful for all areas of the state.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


First News at 5:00 (Television Report), 9/1/2000. NBC North Dakota News: KFYR-TV Bismarck. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0LqaMyJd4k)