Weather Forecast


July storm stories to be shared at symposium

In this file photo taken July 2, 2012, a power pole is bent after severe storms hit the Bemidji area, knocking down thousands of trees and causing extensive damage to utility lines, leaving thousands of customers without power in the area. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Last July’s windstorms were the most significant event of the year for emergency responders in the area.

Now others in that field are taking in an interest in the events of those two days.

Chris Muller, the Beltrami County emergency management assistant director, will give a presentation at the University of North Dakota in May on the lead-up and response to that storm, which produced straight-line winds of more than 80 mph and knocked down thousands of trees in the area.

The presentation will be part of the Northern Plains Convective Storms Symposium, which is presented in part by the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society, on May 13 and 14 in Grand Forks, N.D.

 “We’re going to have an emphasis on a timeline leading up to the event,” Muller said Friday. “And during the event, what our emergency response was both pre and post-incident.

“We’re also going to be talking about how we received and interpreted the information from the National Weather Service as the storm hit,” Muller added. “Because we did have a really good lead time before the storm hit.”

Muller is also looking for photos, videos and personal accounts from the public to help tell the storm’s story. Those can be sent to or to the county’s emergency management Facebook page.

Muller is asking for stories about how people heard about the storm, if people had any close calls and if it was much worse than any storms in recent memory.

It may be difficult to remember a storm as bad as the one that hit July 2 and again on July 4. But despite the severe winds and the number of outdoor activities on the holiday week, there were no major injuries reported.

The storm helped prompt local officials to implement its Code Red emergency notification system.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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