The first major thunderstorm of the season blew through north-central Montana, but it looks like most of the heavy weather hit Chouteau County before the system hit the Havre area.
“I think we kind of lucked out, ” Hill County Sheriff Don Brostrom said this morning.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning during the storm, but the only report was of a funnel cloud near Loma, which did not touch down, Great Falls meteorologist Erik Gustafson said this morning.
Hail ranged from 1 ½ inches to the largest reported, east of Floweree, at 2 ¾ inches, he said, with most of the hail and high winds in Chouteau County. A gust of 87 mph was reported north of Loma, and tree branches up to 4 inches in diameter were reported on U. S. Highway 87.
Havre Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hedges said city firefighters responded to one fire call, due to a lightning strike, 6 miles east of town, at 9:45 p. m.
The property owners had quickly extinguished the small fire by the time firefighters arrived.
Brostrom said his office received several calls, but nothing out of the ordinary for a severe storm.
Hill County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Joe Parenteau said this morning that he had not received any reports of major problems in the county.
“It was quite a lightning show all around us, ” he added.
He said the storm is a good reminder of the benefits of attending a National Weather Service severe weather spotter training program in Havre Wednesday. The Skywarn Weather Spotter Training Program is intended for new and experienced weather spotters, giving training for identifying and reporting severe weather events.
The training starts at 6 p. m. in the South Meeting Room in the Hill County Health Department in the Courthouse Annex.
“It’s a good information program. It shows how storms develop and what to watch for and when to take shelter, ” Parenteau said, adding that it could be helpful during the rest of the year.
“It looks like we may be in for another round of it today …, ” he said. “When you’ve got the pattern coming your way, you’ve got to be ready. ”