DICKINSON, N.D. - On July 8, 2009, the skies in the south part of Dickinson went dark as an EF3 tornado-with winds exceeding 150 mph, spun through the area. More than 400 homes were damaged. Trees were uprooted, powerlines downed. But the most impressive statistic- nobody was killed.
Shawn Kessel, the former Dickinson City Administrator, was on the job less than a year when the tornado came. He says he had to rely on his experience in Wahpeton to deal with severe weather. But he credits the community with more help.
“The people of Dickinson, the National Guard, the response was absolutely amazing,” said Kessel.
He remembered one example as then Gov. John Hoeven and other leaders were touring the affected areas.
“All of a sudden, a pickup with a flatbed trailer on it pulls up and parks about a block away with a grill on the back and they’re handing out food-hamburgers and hotdogs, water- to anybody that’s been affected or was helping. It was such a sense of community that was created during the event,” Kessel said.
The estimated cost of the damage was $20 million.