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High Winds and Much Needed Rain

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This picture pretty much says it all. 4 semi trucks overturned on I-90 near Belvidere.  This scene was repeated in many spots across the region as 60-80mph battered the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas.  Not only were these winds strong enough to overturn semis but roof damage was reported in Winner, and a dust storm formed in western Nebraska.  Conditions were so bad that the Nebraska DOT closed a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 80 because of reduced visibility and numerous multi vehicle accidents. This is what it looked like Thursday afternoon.

If you ever wanted to know what a tropical storm felt like, all you had to do was step outside Wednesday or Thursday and you now know.  Sustained winds were clocked from 25 to 55mph across the state over the 48-hour period.  A tropical storm has sustained winds between 39 and 73mph.  Hurricane force gusts were also recorded across western South Dakota, which is over 74mph.  Check out the peak wind gusts below from across the area.

The good news that came out of this storm though was the beneficial rain for areas of the east.  Plenty of moisture funneled in from the northeast as it wrapped around the area of low pressure in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Some areas topped 2 inches of rain while many locations east of the James River received a quarter to three quarters of an inch.  This isn’t exactly what you would call a drought buster, but the overall intensity of the rain was light enough that the majority of it will go straight into the ground leading to a beneficial surplus of moisture.  Below is a look at the rainfall for the north through Noon on Thursday.  Remember that these totals will be low because rain continued to fall through the day and night.

Here are the totals we have for the last 48 hours ending Thursday at 10pm.  Remember again that some of these will be low because it was still raining at the time.

The rain couldn’t come at a better time because the new drought monitor is out and it shows nothing but worsening conditions.  Much of western Minnesota and east South Dakota is under an extreme drought, up a category for just a week ago.  The rest of the area has stayed largely the same.

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