Campers Forced to Weather Storm at General Sibley

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You can imagine how frightening a damaging storm can be if you're camping.

Screaming doesn't help, and minutes can seem like hours.

General Sibley Park south of Bismarck suffered major damage Friday night, as 80 mile per hour winds toppled trees all around the campers.

When the storm rolled in, Daniel Anderson and his family were stuck at their campsite, surrounded by falling trees and rising water. They endured relentless winds for four hours.

"The three of us were holding down the top of the tent so it wouldn't blow away," Anderson said.

Along with their shelter and belongings, Anderson's first priority was the safety of his rescue pups, Bullet and Snowball.

"They were hiding under the blankets and we were trying to keep them calm," Anderson said. "And tried to hold the tent down so we didn't lose anything because a big gust of wind kept coming and tried to pick the tent up. Even with our weight the three of us together it was still trying to tear the tent apart, and like I said that was a scary feeling."

Other weekend campers like Sandra Williams took Friday's storm as a lesson learned after a frightening experience where her motor home was rocking back and forth from the wind.

"They predicted another one coming through, so we just took shelter in that rest room over there," Williams said.

The parks department estimates that more than 80 cottonwood and ash trees fell down in the blustery conditions.

Trees weren't the only things that were damaged in General Sibley. On the ground was broken glass from a pick up truck that was crushed by the storm.

And that's not all. A heavy cottonwood branch landed on top of a trailer. Fortunately, no one was inside.

And the next time you're camping when storms are threatening, the parks department has some advice.

"Add a little bit a word of caution to the people that are visiting our parks just keep an eye out for something that may be hazardous," said Greg Daniel, Bismarck-Mandan Parks operations director.

This weekend is the annual MacQuade Softball tournament. The Parks and Recreation Department's goal is to have it all tidied up for the popular event.