Storm System Brings Tornadoes to North Dakota

March 10, 2023

tornadoes in North Dakota

A storm system brought severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and large hail to North Dakota throughout the summer. The National Weather Service issued tornado watches and warnings for most of the state.

The severe thunderstorms were spawned by a strong, discrete thunderstorm called a supercell. These thunderstorms are responsible for a remarkably high percentage of severe weather events, including tornadoes, hail and straight-line winds.

Tornadoes in North Dakota since 1950

North Dakota has a long tradition of being hit by tornadoes. From the deadly 1957 tornado that damaged over 1,000 homes in Fargo to a Watford City twister that sent winds up to 120 miles per hour, North Dakota has seen some scary storms.

In recent years, the state has reported more tornadoes than previous eras. This is due to increased public awareness of severe weather, better reporting methods and advanced technology.

The National Weather Service has recorded 1,649 tornadoes in North Dakota since 1950, resulting in 26 deaths and 362 injuries. That is the 18th highest total among the states.

Tornadoes in North Dakota since 2012

The tornado season in North Dakota since 2012 has been an extremely active one. The weather models suggest we could have severe thunderstorms and tornadoes throughout this week (February 27-March 3).

It’s also possible we may see some snowfall. The cold air in the northern part of the country is trying to push south while warmer air is pushing in from the south.

That’s what makes the tornado season so unusual. The weather patterns in the United States typically move to a spring-like pattern during the winter months and then shift back towards the autumn.

For example, the most common time for tornadoes to occur in Minnesota is late spring and early summer. However, tornadoes can still happen at other times of the day and night as well.

Tornadoes in North Dakota on this date

On this date in 1955, a tornado touched down near Walcott, North Dakota. It was one of three F5 tornadoes to hit the state, and it killed two people.

The National Weather Service claims that the tornado probably reached the wind speed and size of an F5 several times before it dissipated. The storm also wreaked havoc on rural areas and caused many families to lose their homes and farms.

This tornado swept across Burke County into Ward County. It touched down on Highway 52 for about three miles, damaging farm property on both sides of the road.

A farm home was completely lifted up and thrown 100 yards away. A combine was also picked up and tossed several hundred feet. Trees were also blown over along the damage path.

Tornadoes in North Dakota in the past

The state of North Dakota has seen a variety of tornadoes over the years. There are typically 23 tornadoes in North Dakota each year, but some years are a bit more severe than others.

In August 2007, a powerful tornado tore through the town of Northwood, killing one man and sending 19 other people to the hospital. It was an F4 tornado on the Fujita scale, which is used to rate the intensity of tornadoes.

This was a very significant event. The tornado was eight-tenths of a mile wide and cut a path five miles long.

The damage was extensive and devastating. Several buildings, including the school and supermarket, were destroyed, as well as a grain elevator and many large trees were uprooted. There were also numerous power outages.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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