Winds were muted compared to the potential straight-line wind event forecasters warned might materialize, but the severe summer storm Friday, July 17, certainly produced heavy and damaging rain. Saturday, meanwhile, saw storms stick largely to a northerly path with warm air in the region capping the storm’s ability to form vertically in the atmosphere, the National Weather Service in Duluth stated Sunday.
Friday’s storm caused tree damage throughout Cass County before losing some of its momentum headed into Crow Wing County.
“The storms moved in very, very quickly — much faster than a lot of the forecast models were predicting,” said Justin Schultz, a meterologist with the weather service. “That definitely had an impact on how they evolved as they tracked to the southeast. The storms kind of outran the better instability — all the fuel that the storms needed to really get energized from.”
A Servpro van sits in front of the YMCA Saturday, July 18, which is closed due to water damage from flash flooding that occurred Friday night in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
A sign on the YMCA door Saturday, July 18, announces that the facility is closed due to water damage from flash flooding that occurred Friday night in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
The rainfall was impactful in the lakes area, however. The Brainerd Family YMCA reported it sustained significant damage from water and flooding throughout the entire facility from Friday night’s storm. A ServPro vehicle, specializing in fire and water cleanup was parked outside the YMCA on Oak Street in Brainerd Saturday. The fitness center is closed for repairs until further notice.
Roughly between 10 p.m., when the storm arrived in earnest in the Brainerd area, and 4 a.m., the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport received 3.29 inches of rain. The downpour, sheets of rain from the north, was too much for storm drains to keep up with, flooding city streets. Some unsuspecting drivers who drove into the water, in north Brainerd and on Washington Street, were left with stalled cars.
About 11:30 p.m. residents along Juniper Street were out wading in knee-deep dark water on city streets checking storm drains and were unable to find obstructions. It was just too much rain, too fast. Streets illuminated by frequent lightning flashes resembled rivers with water lapping into yards and tiny whirlpools, the size of dinner plates, forming over storm drains.
At the Washington…