Historic Look at Severe Weather in the RRV during Severe Weather Awareness Week
Grand Forks, ND — This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week and as part of that we take a historic look at severe weather in the region. Severe weather consists of thunderstorms, hail, lightning, heavy winds, flooding, dangerous heat, and perhaps the most feared: tornadoes. However up until the 1950s, Greg Gust with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks says very little was known about tornadoes until Dr. Fujita, the inventor of the Fujita scale for scoring the intensity of a tornadoes, spent time in Fargo surveying devastating tornado damage.
The June 20th, 1957 Fargo tornado was ranked as an EF-5. The tornado was 500 yards in diameter and traveled more than 50 miles, eventually killing 12 people and injuring more than 100.
More recently one of most devastating severe weather systems occurred on June 17th, 2010, where more than 75 tornadoes touched down throughout the northern plains. Gust recaps that historic event.
Three people were killed in that June 17th, 2010 outbreak, including one person in the Mentor area. Overall, a record 113 tornadoes touched down in Minnesota that summer.
Gust says there has been lots of discussion and debate over whether or not climate change has caused an increase in severe weather in recent years. Gust notes that it is more possible climate change has increased the size of the storms, but not the severity.
And with this being Severe Weather Awareness Week, Gust strongly encourages everyone to make preparations in the event a storm hits your area this summer.
The state of Minnesota will be conducting two statewide tornado drills on Thursday, one at 1:45pm geared for schools and businesses and one at 6:45am intended for families to practice seeking shelter.
Listen to the full interview with Greg Gust of the National Weather Service below: