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Ping pong- and golf ball-size hail reported in Grand Forks, with more storms on the way

Severe thunderstorms are threatening eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota Thursday afternoon and evening with 60-mph winds, half dollar-size hail and possible vehicle, roof and tree damage in the mix.

There’s also a tornado warning for several North Dakota counties until 11 p.m., including nearby counties Griggs and Ramsey.

More rainfall is still expected, Bill Barrett, a representative from the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, said following the first rainfall in the northern part of Grand Forks.

There was roughly half an inch of rainfall, with southern Grand Forks estimated to have had a 10th to a quarter of an inch of precipitation.

A ping pong ball-size piece of hail was reported on the north side of Grand Forks, and a piece of golf ball-size hail was reported in East Grand Forks. There was also quarter-sized hail observed throughout the two cities, Barrett said.

In northwest Minnesota, the weather service had issued a tornado warning for parts of Polk, Norman and Mahnomen counties from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.

“It’ll be variable but most places can count on half an inch, let’s say, with the bigger storms producing 1 to 2 inches of rain,” Barrett said.

The entire state of North Dakota is predicted to have scattered strong to severe thunderstorms from Thursday afternoon going into the night, according to the National Weather Service.

These storms could include hail 2 inches in diameter or greater, wind gusts 75 mph or greater, isolated tornadoes and localized heavy rain, officials said.

Grand Forks County is categorized as having moderate risk compared with surrounding areas. Damage to structures and vehicles is possible, as well as potential injuries to unsheltered people and animals.

The weather service said it is not certain about how these storms will unfold, but stressed the greatest risk is after midnight tonight, stretching into the early morning hours. The biggest concern during this time will be the winds, Barrett said, which could reach between 70 and 80 mph.

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