HDN Staff and wire report
The Havre Jaycees fireworks display was delayed to Saturday evening due to weather, however Mother Nature put on a show of her own the evening of the Fourth of July. A massive thunderstorm rolled through the area, giving lightning, high winds, hail and a deluge of rain to north-central Montana, knocking out power, breaking tree limbs and knocking over a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train just west of Kremlin. While the rain and wind was just in time to cause the delay of the fireworks display, it also may have been just in time for crops that were starting to show the effects of the hot and dry weather in late June. The National Weather Service showed Havre receiving .58 inches of rain Friday night, putting the city back into a good surplus for the year Havre ended up at almost an inch above normal for the year after the rainstorm. Unofficial reports from western Hill County were of an inch or more of rain. Ron Fischer of Erickson Baldwin Insurance Agency in Havre said no one had made reports of crop damage to the agency this morning although there were reports of property damage from wind, including a 30,000 bushel grain bin in Chinook losing its roof. Hill County Farm Services Agency Executive Director Mike Zook said his office has received some reports of some crop damage, primarily caused by the high winds. “The most damage happened to people with hay down” waiting to be baled, he said. “It just blew all over.” Zook said the reports he has had have been of no rainfall in some parts of Hill County to areas with four inches of rain north of Havre. Severe weather was reported Friday night from Choteau in Teton County to the Hogeland area in eastern Blaine County, where a weather spotter reported a 75-year-old tree blown over by the high winds. BNSF crews worked Saturday to clean up after the train derailment by Kremlin. The railroad tracks 21 miles west of Havre reopened Saturday morning about 14 hours after the derailment that scattered cookies, tissue and other nonhazardous freight, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said. No one was injured in the derailment Friday night and the tracks were fixed in time to avoid disrupting the Amtrak passenger train that uses them, Melonas said. Some empty containers on flatcars apparently caught the wind, which topped 50 mph, and the force led to the derailment, he said. It involved segmented flatcars equal to about 25 standard railcars, according to Melonas. The train with four locomotives and 59 cars was going from Portland, Ore., to Chicago. Given the wind, the train had slowed to 49 mph in an area with a speed limit of 60 mph, Melonas said. The National Weather Service in Great Falls said gusts of 67 mph were reported in Havre on Friday night. NorthWestern Energy spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said wind ripped some power lines and sent trees into others, causing power outages Friday To like the music, some even staying from noon until Sharky the Vampire wrapped up around 7 p.m. Eight bands played a variety of music from country and rock covers to indie, punk and alternative originals. Every band member coming off the stage had the same remark after playing in the sweltering heat, “Man it’s hot up there.” The crowd, docile in the beginning with more mellow tunes, became increasingly louder with appreciation for the bands as the day wore on. When the bands that played later in the afternoon cranked up a heat of their own, more and more people filtered toward the gazebo in Pepin Park to sit at the bleachers, listening. When bands finished, members of other bands weren’t the only ones in the crowd congratulating them. Between live acts, members of the crowd vacated their seats to mingle with the bands and each other, though as soon as the next band stepped up to play, the crowd gathered around the bleachers once more. Soon after the festival in the park, Havreites gathered fireworks, kids and cars to make the trek, through the flow of traffic to find the perfect spot for viewing the promised Jaycees display. Around 9 p.m., the skies opened up and a punishing thunderstorm ripped branches from trees and bludgeoned the ground with rain, all the while providing natural fireworks with thunder and lightning. Around 10:30 p.m. the Jaycees still had not begun their show. The rain had slowed, but wind continued to wreak havoc. Scores of people began deserting their place holds in realization the show was not meant to be. Saturday, Havreites mingled again from 16th Street West, Second Street West and in the Holiday Village Mall parking lot as the Jaycees attempted to light off their fireworks once again. This time, the show went on and Havreites again lit off personal fireworks before, during and well after the show. In the end Havre’s Fourth of July celebration lasted for two days this year, and fun seemed to be had by all.