Hurricane-force winds cause extensive damage in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A weather system packing hurricane-force wind gusts has caused extensive damage and power outages in western and central North Dakota.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of 77 mph at Garrison, 81 mph in Hettinger County and 93 mph in Williston on Thursday. The weather service defines hurricane-force as sustained surface winds of 74 mph or greater.

The weather service said a mobile home at the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in Williams County was flipped upside down. A cafe roof was blown off in the Renville County town of Mohall.

Metal siding was blown off a building in the Mountrail County town of Stanley. A gas pump was blown over in New England, and a newly constructed building in Mercer County was knocked down, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Gusts also toppled a 60-foot tall wind turbine at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town.

Bismarck-based Montana-Dakota Utilities on Thursday reported hundreds of outages in several cities, including parts of Bismarck-Mandan. But, by Friday, most service has been restored.

The high winds followed two days of unusually warm temperatures. Minot, Dickinson and Jamestown set or tied all-time highs for the date on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Bismarck on Tuesday hit 52 degrees, breaking the city’s record of 50 set on Jan. 12, 1987.