Crop damage reported from strong thunderstorms

This was one of the larger chunks from the hail storm today (off of Valley Center Road). It hit us about 5:20 pm and lasted for about 10 minutes. A golf ball is on the left for comparison. Lisa Michael, Bozeman

HELENA, Mont. - Winds gusting to up to 89 mph during strong thunderstorms severely damaged crops in Gallatin County. Montana Grain Growers Vice President Matt Flikkema says he's never seen such extensive damage to the county's wheat and barley crops. He expects "very little crops" will be harvested, with work scheduled to begin next week. Flikkema said the damage from Thursday afternoon's storms could approach $50 million. The storm started in southwestern Montana. Wind gusts up to 104 mph were recorded in Polaris, northwest of Dillon. The National Weather Service reported major damage to homes and some trees. Strong winds and possibly a tornado caused severe damage in Twin Bridges, uprooting trees and blowing the roof off at least one building. Golf-ball sized hail fell across much of Belgrade and the northern part of Bozeman.