NewsLocal News


Severe weather in eastern Montana leaves destruction across region

Residents of Glendive and Baker recover from Thursday night's brutal storm
Glendive storm
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 28, 2024

BILLINGS — It was a windy day in Southeast Montana. Billings was lucky, but others across the state faced severe damage from Thursday night's storm.

Billings Storm

What started out as a cool summer breeze quickly turned into tornado-like conditions.

Baker resident and a proponent for a new Fallon County childcare facility, Vaughn Zenko, experienced the storm first hand. Property devoted to the childcare facilities was unfortunately permanently damaged in the winds.

"[The storm] finally hit and it brought those passive gusts of winds. But, thankfully it wasn't too destructive with the exception of the childcare project...Unfortunately it's almost going to be impossible [to fix]," said Zenko, the executive director of Eastern Montana Economic Development Authority.

Although the storm damaged property in Baker, Glendive seemed to see a majority of the destruction. Business owner and Glendive resident, Peggy Meidinger, lost her 1964 family camper to the severe winds.

"The wind picked [up the camper] and flipped it twice on to its side, and then on to the roof, and then slid it 30 feet down the road," she said.

And now begins the cleanup, something JR Bagwell knows a lot about. He owns a tree-trimming company in Glendive.

Glendive storm aftermath

"We've got a month and a half of work booked out already," says Bagwell.

But even in the aftermath of destruction, he is seeing something worth celebrating.

"The community has really come together and helped everywhere they could," said Bagwell.

And even Meidinger, who lost more than most, is staying positive.

"This was nothing to what some people had. There were roofs blown off and things like that. So, we're counting our blessings," she said.

Many businesses and nonprofits in Glendive experienced extreme destruction. Meidinger asks Montana residents to keep the people of Glendive in their prayers and help how they can.

In the end, many are looking forward to the cleanup.