On this day 21 years ago, a severe thunderstorm with a memorable amount of hail caused significant damage to homes and vehicles across the Bismarck and Mandan areas.

“As I remember it, my wife and I were driving in downtown Bismarck and I saw the clouds coming in and they were coming in very fast and very dark and pretty soon it seems to have like a green hue on the city, a green tint and then the rain came down, and it came down fast and the wind was blowing and you could see streets were starting to flood within minutes and then the hail came and it was coming down really hard and pushing. It was like a snowstorm except it was hitting the car and I came to the 7th Street underpass by East Front Avenue, and there you could see water at the bottom and flooded at the bottom of the overpass and floating on top of that was like two feet of what I thought were blocks of snow and ice and it was hail and it had piled up under that overpass and it looked like we had gone back to winter suddenly,” said Bismarck resident Keith Darnay.

It was reported that the largest chunk of hail was baseball size in Mandan.

Darnay seconds that report and says the chunks of hail were huge.        

“This hail that I saw it was like ‘Oh, maybe golf ball size, tennis ball size,’ but a lot of little hail, that’s the stuff that piled up very quickly,” said Darnay.

According to the National Weather Service, the estimated damage from the hail in both cities was around $260 million.

If you search the date and location on your Facebook feed, you will see many people remembering this serious storm.

“I couldn’t believe it, that’s why I compare everything to that storm. So whenever we have hail like we had hail a couple of years back, I say ‘Eh, 2001 was worse,'” Darnay said.

Recalling a 21-year-old storm on a day like today makes people who were living through the storm think back.     

“The thing about North Dakota, our storms can come up so quickly and out of nowhere, and you can see a storm that looks kind of innocent-looking, like ‘Ah, it’s going to have some rain’ and then boom, it hits you, and then it’s gone. It’s like it comes into town and then it runs out of town,” he said.

Darnay said that back in 2001, he even wanted to take a souvenir home.

“But I was discouraged by my wife from doing that,” said Darnay.

During our research, we also found that at least three locals got married on the day of this storm. One can say where there’s hail…there are also wedding bells.