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Baseball-Size Hail Damages the Bozeman Area

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – Two severe storms dropping golf ball- and baseball-size hail moved through the Bozeman area Wednesday, knocking out power to more than a thousand customers and damaging buildings, vehicles and trees.

National Weather Service meteorologist James Ho said the first storm hit just after 3 p.m. and hurled baseball-size hail for about 20 minutes onto the mostly open land east of Gallatin Field airport.

The second storm brought golf ball-size hail to Bozeman about an hour later and continued for about 30 minutes. NorthWestern Energy spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said that storm knocked out power to about 1,300 people on the city’s north side. Service was restored within 20 minutes.

Crews were responding to several minor power outages, mostly due to fallen tree branches.

The hail tore apart a theater marquee and smashed windows at a restaurant in downtown Bozeman. Meanwhile, dozens of windows were broken out in buildings at Montana State University.

“We’ve lost an awful lot of windows,” said Jeff Butler, MSU’s director of facilities services. “That appears to be the biggest thing.”

Several large trees on the campus were damaged and quite a few tree limbs were lying on the ground.

As of 5:30 p.m., Bozeman Deaconess Hospital had treated fewer than 10 people with injuries resulting from the storm, hospital spokeswoman Connie Martin said.

“We’re seeing bumps, bruises, lacerations,” she said, but no life-threatening injuries had been reported.

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