June 2001 Hailstorm
The 2001 Hailstorm was a signficant severe storm that caused millions of dollars of widespread damage to the region. The June 9th storm came in three waves, dumping piles of hail coupled with heavy rain and winds gusting to 50 MPH.
Weather was sunny and calm ahead of the storm. The sunny skies quickly turned dark as the storm rushed towards the city, first striking around 5:40pm. Over the span of several hours, Bismarck was hit by three separate waves, each delivering a wallop of hail, wind, and rain.
Immediately following the storm, the hail-filled ground resembled snow from the inches of ice balls littering the area. The only sign of green was from leaves and branches taken out with the hail. Hail clogged the sewer drains, leaving the torrential rains with nowhere to drain. Streets flooded, including the Seventh and Ninth Street underpasses.
In the end, the storm caused millions of dollars in damage to buildings, vehicles, and structures. On the farm fields, crops and livestock were also severely affected by the storm. At 60,000 claims, there were more insurance claims filed, and more insurance dispersed than from any other natural disaster in North Dakota history, even surpassing the Grand Forks Flood of 1997. Visible evidence of the storm remained for years.
The Fast Facts:
- 1.85 inches of rain officially fell, as recorded at the Bismarck airport
- Hail reports up to 1.5 inches in diameter (baseball size)
- Wind gusts up to 50 MPH
- First storm hit approximately 5:40pm, at the end of the evening rush hour
- More than 60,000 insurance claims were filed, the most claims ever filed in North Dakota history
- At least ten insurance companies left the area following the storm, and rates increased an average of 19 percent