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Winds that gusted up to 80 mph in the Froid area Thursday night flattened crops, tore shingles from roofs and tipped over equipment.

Ruth Ebert, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Glasgow, said the worst wind damage was in the Froid area, but the office had reports of wind gusts up to 80 mph across Roosevelt County. The storm that raged through the area from about 8 until 11 p.m. Thursday did the most damage between Brockton and Froid, she said.

Tony Anderson estimated that 90- to 100-mph winds tipped over his Kenworth truck and attached cattle trailer, which were parked at his home 10 miles West of Froid. Anderson, a rancher who does custom hauling as a sideline, said the rig with the trailer weighs 32,000 pounds.

The storm blew in about 9 p.m., and “it got just solid black,” he said. Anderson said his children were the first to report that the truck was moving in the wind.

“It was moving up and down about 2 or 3 feet off the ground,” Anderson said. “All the sudden, she just picked her up and flopped her over.”

Anderson said roofing was ripped off the barn of his father, Jim Anderson, at a site about half-mile from his place. Friday afternoon Anderson had his Kenworth and the trailer righted, but the cab was “all twisted” and will be hauled to Billings for repairs.

“It’s got to be fixed one way or the other,” Anderson said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

David Secora and the Glasgow NWS said a surveyor on Friday found storm damage from crops laid down to radio and television antennae.

Nickel-sized hail was reported as far south as Glendive, but the storm predominately moved to the east, battering the Williston, N.D., area. Williston NWS Meteorologist in Charge Patrick Allard said the storm was impressive, with wind gusts to 66 mph but didn’t leave much damage.

“Visually, it was one of the most awesome shelf clouds I’ve ever seen in my life,” Allard said. “It was just outstanding. I’ve never seen one quite that well developed, and I’ve seen quite a number in my lifetime.”

Allard said the cloud structure was big, and he could see definite winds going in and coming out of the cell, which was full of lightning.

“It was a very nice lightning show for the day after the Fourth,” Allard said.

Ebert, at the Glasgow NWS, said the storm is a “super-cell thunderstorm,” which is characterized as a storm big enough to produce damage. Super cells also have more rotation, making tornadoes more likely.

No tornadoes were confirmed, and damage surveys from NWS offices in Glasgow and Williston showed no damage or debris that would indicate tornadoes. Instead, the surveyors reported indications of “straight-line winds,” said Allard in Williston.

“A few people maybe saw what they thought were tornadoes,” Allard said. “But it was probably dust from the straight-line winds, and there were a lot of (clouds) hanging off that shelf cloud.”

Becky Shay can be reached at 657-1231 or at bshay@billingsgazette.com

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