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Gazette Staff

A storm cut a swath through Garfield County Thursday night, dropping rain and hail that combined to form drifts of hail, a deputy sheriff said.

Kelly Pierson said deputies drove Garfield County “line to line” from the east to the west and found one stretch of weather damage, about a quarter-mile wide and less than a mile long. There is only one farmhouse in that area and it suffered broken windows, Pierson said. The house is in the Big Dry School area, between Sandsprings and Jordan.

The storm hit a section of the county that is sparsely populated, which cut damage considerably, he said.

“It couldn’t have happened in a better place,” Pierson said.

The National Weather Service in Glasgow received one report of a funnel cloud about 12 miles west of Jordan, meteorologist Tom Wright said. But there were dozens of reports of damage and hail, he said. The strongest wind in the storm gusted to 60 mph. There were reports of shingles blown off buildings in the Edwards area, Wright said.

The storm, which carried a NWS tornado warning, did most of its damage in isolated areas between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Wright said. Some spots received 3 to 5 inches of rain, Wright said.

There was enough golf-ball sized hail in Garfield County to make the ground white, Pierson said. Combined with the heavy rains, the hail was washed into ditches and “drifted” into piles about 4 feet deep along the highway, Pierson said.

The storm moved into McCone and Valley counties.

Matching a pattern in recent weeks, the severe storms skirted Billings. Earlier storms left 1.125-inch diameter hail west of Roundup and dime-sized hail north of Lavina, a NWS spokesman in Billings said.

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