The Sunday, August 26th, Tornado Outbreak

The Northwood EF4 Tornado was one of several tornadoes which affected the northern Red River Basin area on Sunday evening, August 26th, 2007. 

Damage assessments have confirmed that at least 11 tornadoes occurred between central North Dakota and Northern Minnesota that evening.  At least 9 of these tornadoes occurred within 60 miles of Grand Forks, in northeast North Dakota or Northwest Minnesota.  Tracks and damages from 8 of these are detailed on these pages.  Two tornadoes have also been confirmed in southcentral North Dakota, near Napoleon. 

The three largest and most damaging tornadoes are as follows: 

First, The Northwood ND Tornado Track...
Northwood tornado track
Total Track. 

Depicted here is the roughly 5 mile long Northwood tornado track, showing touchdown about 2mi WSW of town and dissipation about 2 mi ENE of town.  Times are closest minute estimates based on photograhic evidence and witness reports.  For any one point in town the nearly mile wide tornado, traveling at 25-30mph would have spent from one to two minutes. 
Northwood town center tornado track
EF4 Rating Overview.

Damage ratings are indicated near selected areas of the tornado track.  These spot ratings are based on representative structural and vegetation damage near these locations.  The most extreme damage appeared to be in the  northeast corner of the community.  The overall tornado rating is EF4 and is based on this most extreme damage.
Northwood Airport debris scatter pattern
8:46 pm: Northwood Airport Area.

Ground evidence near the airport shows how the tornado track was widening at its approach into Northwood.  The scatter pattern of debris from the blown out hangar shows curving winds and long debris trajectories.  The tornado had actually crossed the Goose River about a mile WSW of the airport and left a 200 yard wide stretch of downed trees in its wake.  By the time it was hitting the airport the ground track was one third mile wide and growing wider.  At this point the tornado was still visible outside the increasingly heavy rain.  
Northwood debris pattern
8:52 pm: Northeast Northwood.

The tornado reached an incredible width of eight tenths of a mile as it pushed through the ENE.  At this point it had multiple suction vortices embedded in the overall "wedge" shaped tornado.  The strongest of these vortices appears to have scoured the ground and left broad circulation patterns of debris in the overall damage and debris field.  Around this time the tornado likely became wrapped in heavy rain and would have been difficult to observe from a distance, though some pictures were taken!

 Link to Damage Photos.    Link to Radar Images.    Link to Tornado Video (soon). 

An earlier tornado struck 15 miles west of Northwood

Northwood Airport debris scatter pattern

Around 8 pm a funnel was observed just north of the intersection of ND HWYs 32 and 15 in southeast Nelson County.  This developed into the roughly 6 mile long and one third mile wide tornado track from about 6mi NNE  Aneta to 3 mi WNW Logan Center. Damage was rated at EF3.

Damage pictures here! 

Rugh Lake Tornado (.mpg) video (7meg download)

A later tornado struck 28 miles east of Northwood

Northwood Airport debris scatter pattern

Close to 10 pm, storm rotation again increased and produced this roughly 5 mile long and 300 yard wide tornado track... from about 7mi ENE Reynolds ND to 4mi WNW Eldred MN.  Damage was rated at EF2.

Damage pictures here!

At least 6 more (smaller) tornadoes
struck nearby that night!

Tornadoes touched down briefly near Union ND (southeast Cavalier County), between Union and Hoople ND (along the Pembina and Walsh County line), near Nash ND (Walsh County), near Florian MN (northern Marshall County), near Newfolden MN (central Marshall County), and near Merrifiled ND (east central Grand Forks County).

Union ND

Union tornado track

Tornado 3 miles west of Union ND, photos courtesy of Jeremy Johansen

Union tornado

Union tornado

Union tornado

Hoople ND

Hoople tornado track

Tornado 2 miles west of Hoople ND w/hail, photos courtesy of Walsh County

Hoople tornado

Hoople tornado

Nash ND

Nash tornado track

Tornado track and tree damage near Nash ND

Nash tornado damage

Florian MN

Floriantornado track

Tornado track and structural damage near Florian MN.  This same storm likely produced a second brief touchdown near Newfolden later in the evening.
Videos (.mpg) of event Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 




Merrifield ND
Merrifield tornado track
Early motorist reports to news media had indicated that a tornado may have crossed I-29 at some point south of Grand Forks, shortly before 9:30 pm.  Later, reports were received of significant tree damage at farms and in shelter belts south of Merrifield which were linked to the motorist reports and confirmed via radar imagery.  An NWS damage assessment found that the damage was consistent with a 150 yard wide tornado tracking from roughly 2 miles west southwest of Merrifield to about 2 miles east of Merrifield, between 9:20 and 9:28 pm. 

This tornado likely dissipated as it entered extreme southern Grand Forks County, about a mile south of the King's Walk Golf Course, while still producing strong winds and hail across the Grand Forks area.  The tornado was rated as EF1, with peak winds to 90 mph.

Merrifield tornado damage
EF1 tree and branch damage at Don Drees farm

Merrifield tornado damage
EF1 trees down at Paul Erickson farm

Merrifield tornado damage
EF0 gutters torn off roof

South Columbia Rd tree damage
EF0 tree damage near So. Columbia Rd is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.