Recalling The Hail Storm of July 10, 2016

It would be impossible to forget the hail storm of 2016. This town was turned upside-down, but this is not a story of the downtrodden. This is a story of a town that came together and showed why it’s so amazing to live in Killdeer.

Nicole Nowitzki

Dunn County Herald

Luke Gaugler said, “Russel Adkins and I were fishing out on Lake Sakakawea, and we saw the storm off in the distance, so we decided to head back. On our way back, we saw a boat stranded, and there was a mom, dad, and 3 very small kids. They were getting ready to paddle back to Mosset Bay, and we told them that we would tow them to the marina. As we started heading in, we tried putting the canvas top up on Russel’s boat, but the wind was too strong, so I had to hold it in place. All of a sudden, the hail started, and I saw the mom put the kids under a tub in the front of the boat, and the dad was getting hit with the hail. We were trying everything we could to keep the canvas topper on, but we were still getting hit. We slowly motored back, and it started to clear up as we got them to the marina. Now, we refer to the boat as the Rescue Minnow.”

Sandy Pitsley remembered, “The day of the hailstorm was my dad’s 75th birthday. We had planned a surprise party for him at my house, and we had about 75 people coming. My dad said, ’Geez, what a 75th birthday present!’ when it hailed.” In all of his life, he had never seen a hailstorm like that one.”

I, Nicole Nowitzki, recalled, “My husband called me, and he gave me a very short notice to get to safety immediately. I rushed to the C-Store because I could see the storm right over Hilltop, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get home before it hit. I pulled in, and I was able to get the last available bay, but the rear of my car was hanging out for the shelter of the overhang. I slammed the car into park, jumped into the back, and while I was and lying over the boys’ car seats, pregnant, I began praying for God to keep them safe. Large hail began hitting our car like cinder blocks. My oldest son began asking if we were going to be okay, and I had to explain that I would keep him safe. I will never know how or why, but the back window never broke. We were all safe that day, but we will remember it forever!”

April Dutchuk recollects, “Micah and Azariah were both sleeping when the storm hit. I picked Azzy up out of her pack and play, and handed her blanket to Chad. Micah was woken up by the hail hitting the roof, and when I went into his room to get a blanket, the window above his bed shattered. He would have been covered in glass if he would have been lying there.”

Several stories were going around about people coming home from vacations, camping, or fishing to the complete destruction, flooding, and totaled vehicles. All in all, it really shook up the town.

Some are still awaiting repairs, some just completed them, and others are thankful they were able to get on the repair list quickly. People stepped up and helped neighbors, cooked meals for workers, drove around town handing out cold water bottles in cars or trucks that weren’t totaled in the storm, and helped people get into Dickinson if they needed assistance while their vehicles were being repaired.

This community is one of a kind. The people here are willing to do whatever it takes to help others, make you feel safe, and step up when you need a hand. Hopefully, this never happens again because this was enough destruction for a lifetime.

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