70 mph winds smash Dickinson -- tearing off roofs, knocking out power
People walked around in a daze as some boarded up windows or sorted through debris in their yards after storms smashed a section of town Wednesday night. Some residents say that two tornados hit, though there was no official word as of 11:30 p.m.
As of 10 p.m. no injuries were reported. Officials worked to clear streets, and knocked on doors to make sure everyone was safe.
Neighbors held hands, shared stories and stared in disbelief at the destruction.
Some houses were destroyed, vehicles flipped and trees strewn everywhere.
The storm packed 70 mph winds and funnel clouds raced across North Dakota on Wednesday night, tearing off roofs in Dickinson and knocking out power to part of the city.
Police Lt. Rod Banyai said authorities knew of no injuries, but they were evacuating an area covering about four blocks because of the smell of gasoline from damaged homes.
Banyai said the storm struck about 8 p.m.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Leblang said authorities would have to assess the damage to determine whether it was from a tornado.
"There was a lot of straight-line wind indicators and possible tornado indicators," Leblang said. Wind gusts of 45 mph were reported at the Dickinson airport, he said.
The weather service said winds gusted to 70 mph near Glen Ullin, east of Dickinson, and there were scattered reports of grain bin damage.
A tornado watch was canceled as the storm system moved east. Leblang said it was changing to straight-line winds, but they also bring the potential for heavy damage.