Yellow Bird: Humbled by Turtle Mountain tornadoes
"On my way home Monday from western North Dakota, I learned of tornadoes in Belcourt, N.D., and Rolla, N.D. I have friends and relatives on the Turtle Mountain reservation, so I was worried. There was only one injury, a newscaster said; but physical injuries weren’t my only concern.

So, I changed my course. As I headed north across the rolling prairie toward to the Turtle Mountains, I would dip into a coulee, then rise to the top of the next hill. From those summits, I could see more and more of the land, stretched out lush, green and peaceful at the foot of the mountains, and with seemingly no indication of tornadoes.

Even when I reached Belcourt, it seemed like business as usual. I stopped at a local convenience store for directions. The clerk, a big burly man with a spider tattoo on his arm, directed me north to the forested area.

But I only had to follow his direction a short distance into the trees before I saw the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle. When I reached it, an officer stopped me. The highway was blocked because they were removing trees. I could wait an hour or go around, he said. I went around.

I found the tornado’s path. It crossed one of the new parts of town in an area with nice houses.

I had never seen this kind of destruction and was absolutely amazed. Trees were snapped, uprooted or pushed over; buildings were left in shambles or destroyed completely."

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COLUMNIST DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: Humbled by Rolla tornado's wake (The Grand Forks Herald 7/10)

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