Fort Steven State Park Guard House

Fort Steven State Park Guard House

High winds accompanied a fast moving storm system that spread across much of central North Dakota Monday night. Weather observers in the Garrison area reported winds ranging from 63 to 75 mph. Hail and heavy rainfall was also reported in some areas affected by the storm.

Winds rose quickly in the Lake Sakakawea region, jeopardizing the safety of those staying in campgrounds. Fortunately, there was enough advance warning of the storm to allow State Parks’ personnel to alert campers to the impending danger.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said Chad Trautman, Fort Stevenson State Park manager. “All the campers were notified early enough. The tenters all picked up and got out of here.”

Evidence of the storm’s impact and fury could be seen throughout the park Tuesday. Some trees were felled. Branches and leaves were strewn about the park. One of the largest branches that broke off from an older tree landed in a pull-though camping spot where moments before a vehicle had been parked.

Some campers who elected to ride out the Monday night storm at Fort Stevenson did so inside brick comfort stations. Trautman said he discovered several people huddled there while making a campground check at 10:30 p.m. Monday and again about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“There were campers holed up there, which are good shelters. They were surviving it okay,” said Trautman.

Trautman noted that, if there was a good side to the storm it was that it happened on a weekday when park visitation is far less than what occurs on weekends.

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