June 2001 Hailstorm
On June 9, 2001, Bismarck was struck by a major hail storm that caused millions of dollars in damage, effecting nearly every structure in the city. The storm came in three waves, dumping piles of hail across the area. In addition to hail, heavy rains flooded the streets, and winds gusted to 50 MPH.
The day had started as a perfect spring day, calm and serene. Even though storms were predicted, no one would have believed the three storms to come would devastate the city.
The sunny skies quickly turned dark as the storm rushed towards the city, first striking around 5:40pm. Over the next few hours, Bismarck would be hit by three separate storms, each delivering a wallop of hail, wind, and rain. The ground looked just as it does after a fresh snow fall, only it wasn’t snow, it was inches of ice balls littering the area. The only sign of green was the numerous leaves that had fallen with the hail. The hail clogged the sewer drains, and the torrential rains had nowhere to go. Not only did the streets flood, but so did the Seventh Street and Ninth Street underpasses.
In the end, the storm had caused millions of dollars in damage to buildings, cars, and related 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 money was issued than any other natural disaster in North Dakota history, even surpassing the Grand Forks Flood of 1997. Evidence of the storm can still be seen today.
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