BELTRAMI COUNTY -- Monday evening's severe weather resulted in three confirmed tornadoes in Beltrami County and the Red Lake Nation, the National Weather Service announced on Thursday.
According to the NWS report, a supercell thunderstorm formed in northwest Beltrami County around 4:30 p.m. on July 26 and intensified as it tracked southeastward across Lower Red Lake and Red Lake Nation. It then split into two storm cells as it neared the southern edge of the lake and formed one or more tornadoes over the lake, which then tracked onshore.
At 5:13 p.m. the strongest tornado -- rated an F1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with peak winds of 95 mph -- formed and struck the community of Red Lake, resulting in damage to the college and other structures.
It was first observed over the southern edge of Lower Red Lake and quickly moved onshore just east of Red Lake High School. The tornado appeared to have tracked in a southeastward direction, mainly over ball fields and parking lots, before crossing State Highway 1, near the Red Lake Humanities Center.
Nearby, a light pole was broken down and signage was toppled. Large portions of roofing material and trim were torn off the Humanities Center and scattered or crumpled downstream. Steel roofing panels were also torn off sheds at the Highway Department facility south of Highway 1. Numerous large oak and evergreen trees were snapped or uprooted along the path.
According to the report, though the tornado itself appears to have dissipated at 5:15 p.m. in the forested area and creek bed south of the highway, very large hail and damaging downburst winds persisted over the surrounding area and downstream with this storm.
At 5:16 p.m. the second tornado -- also rated an F1 with peak winds of 95 mph -- struck just east of Redby. It likely formed over the southern edge of Lower Red Lake which quickly moved onshore east of the community.
The tornado appears to have tracked in a southeastward direction, mainly over heavily forested and thinly populated areas before crossing State Highway 1 and penetrating deeply into a forest of large evergreen and oak trees south of Highway 1, the report said.
The tornado appears to have dissipated at 5:22 p.m. and did considerable tree damage. Numerous large evergreen and oak trees were snapped or uprooted along the path, and most debris tracked to the southeast with the rapidly moving storm.
It is possible that additional track evidence may be discovered in largely inaccessible forest lands of O'Brien and Langor Townships, as this storm continued to travel towards the Blackduck area, the report said.
At 5:23 p.m. the third tornado -- rated an F0 with peak winds of 80 mph -- formed northwest of Nebish. The tornado was likely wrapped in downburst winds, hail and rain. It formed as the storm cell, which spawned the first tornado near Red Lake, re-intensified and continued in a south-southeasterly direction.
The tornado crossed portions of Dark Lake, Whitefish Lake and Sandy Lake in Nebish and Hagali Townships, before dissipating at 5:36 p.m. near the west edge of Gull Lake. Numerous poplar and oak trees were snapped along its path, the report said.
Additionally, very large destructive hail was reported along a line from Red Lake to Pennington, with the largest hail reported to be baseball-sized near Pennington.
No fatalities or injuries from the tornadoes were reported.