Plentywood family rides out storm under pickup

PLENTYWOOD (AP) — A northeastern Montana family took shelter under a pickup truck in their shop while strong winds accompanying a severe thunderstorm destroyed their nearby trailer house, the Sheridan County sheriff said.

Chase Anderson, his wife and their two children were in their shop in Plentywood on Monday evening when the wind started shaking the building, Sheriff Heidi Williamson said.

They stayed under the pickup until the storm passed and walked out to find a bare spot where their trailer house used to be, Williamson said. The shop also was damaged, but no injuries were reported in back-to-back storms that hit Monday evening.

Anderson declined an interview Tuesday afternoon, saying he was busy cleaning up.

The National Weather Service estimated wind speeds were up to 127 mph on the eastern side of town, Williamson said.

A microburst with wind speeds up to 118 mph destroyed at least nine small airplanes, most of their hangars and bent over the radio tower at the airport, the sheriff said.

The storm also uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged other buildings around town before moving into North Dakota.

“There’s lots of downed trees, branches and garbage cans blown all over town,” Williamson said Tuesday. “And it’s supposed to happen again tonight.”

Sheridan County officials say three transmission lines were damaged by Monday’s storms. Power remained out Tuesday in Plentywood and Outlook as temperatures were forecast to reach into the high 90s or low 100s.

The Civic Center in Plentywood had power and air conditioning, county officials said. The hospital was running on generators.