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MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER Early morning high winds and lightning created extra work for local power company crews Thursday as Beltrami Electric Cooperative lineman Ron Komulainen replaced a fuse in Grant Valley Township.

Twice the storms: Bemidji area sees two downpours, storm gains strength as it moves east

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BEMIDJI -- Two severe thunderstorms moved through the region Thursday, prompting warnings and at least one tornado sighting farther east.

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The Bemidji area saw two downpours Thursday, one at about 9 a.m. and the other at about 4 p.m. Rainfall totals for the Bemidji area early Thursday were at 0.15 inches, but was expected to increase to about 0.25 inches after the afternoon deluge.

The afternoon storm grew steadily worse at it moved east, prompting tornado warnings for parts of Itasca, Aitkin and Cass counties. And much of the Duluth area was in a severe thunderstorm warning until 1 a.m. A tornado was spotted near Remer at about 6:40 p.m. moving east. Damage reports were not immediately available, but wind gusts of up to 70 mph and golf-ball sized hail was expected with the storm.

Because of the impending storms, Bemidji State University postponed its Community Appreciation Day event scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. A new date has not been set, officials said.

Much of northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota were impacted by the storms. A low pressure system was moving through the area in the afternoon, while the early morning storm was more of an upper level disturbance, said Brad Hopkins, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.

Between the storms, it was back to the hot and muggy conditions prevalent the past week or so in the Bemidji area. Expect that to continue the next few days, with more chances of thunderstorms, especially on Saturday, Hopkins said.

It should start to cool down on Sunday, with a forecast high of only about 65. Labor Day on Monday is expected to be 71 and sunny.

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