FARGO — Tuesday, Sept. 3, was a day of cleanup in the Fargo-Moorhead region after a Labor Day storm brought strong winds that downed trees and power lines, resulting in outages for thousands.
About 19,000 customers in the Fargo area were impacted at the peak of the outage, said Mark Nesbit, Xcel Energy’s principal manager for North Dakota.
That number was down to about 300 customers by 4 p.m. Tuesday, and Nesbit said the goal was to restore power for the remaining customers by Tuesday night. Shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday, the number of customers without electricity had reached about 25, according to Xcel's website.
Nesbit said crews from as far as Sioux Falls, S.D., and Grand Forks helped make repairs, with about 20 crews working simultaneously.
"(We) get all hands on deck in something like this. They packed their bags and hopped into their trucks," he said, noting that it was the first time in a decade that Fargo crews had to call for help from nearby cities after a major storm.
The storm system began developing in northwestern North Dakota on Monday before making its way east to Jamestown and the Fargo area, said Nick Carletta, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Wind was the primary threat, with gusts up to 80 mph reported in Jamestown, and some measurements showing wind at 71 mph in Fargo, Carletta said.
The wind toppled three vehicles with high profiles on Interstate 94 about 8 miles west of Jamestown between 4:40 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol. No injuries were reported.
Powerful winds also tore the roof off a building in the 1800 block of Main Avenue in Fargo. The only person reported injured during Monday’s storm was the driver of a semi that was knocked over on I-94 near Tower City, N.D, Carletta said. The driver was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, the patrol said.
Rainfall totals in the region ranged from 0.5 inches to 1 inch, Carletta said. There were isolated reports of hail in some areas, according to Carletta and WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler.
Wheeler said Monday’s storm occurred despite relatively cooler temperatures during the day. The weather was hot and humid higher in the atmosphere, unlike many thunderstorms that occur when heat and humidity can be felt at ground level.
“Sometimes you can’t tell how the weather will be based on how it feels outside,” Wheeler said.
WDAY reporter Nick Broadway contributed to this report.