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Tornado Tears Through Montana City

A tornado ripped off most of the roof of a sports arena in Billings, Mont., And other buildings damaged when it barreled through the city late Sunday afternoon, the police said.No deaths reported as emergency workers cleared in the evening.

The tornado was first reported at about 4:45 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, said Lt. Mark Cady, of the Billings Police Department. The tornado approached the town from the southeast, does the most damage in the two neighborhoods called The Heights and the Lower Heights before heading to the northwest, he said.

The tornado also attracted more than half of the roof of the Rimrock Auto Arena at Metra Park, leaving pieces scattered over a ¾-mile area, said Lt. Cady. The Arena, which seats 10,000 people, hosts indoor football games, rodeos and concerts. The tornado also damaged a casino, a bar and a laundry operation in the center of the city and leveled a glass broke some shopping and gas.

At a McDonald's restaurant, about 20 people took cover in the walk-in freezer, when they saw the tornado coming, "said Lt. Cady. The tornado blew all the glass of the building.

The tornado was also accompanied by floods cars stranded on roads in deep water left. Runoff from the storm also overwhelmed the city sewers.

"Manhole covers were off because the pressure of the water to breathe," said Lieutenant Cady. "It's a mess right now."

The tornado was part of a storm through the area that also dropped hail measuring nearly three inches in the Bighorn and Yellowstone Counties, the National Weather Service said in a local storm report.

The Billings Logan International Airport reported 2.24 inches of rain from the storm, where a local record for the date. The old record rainfall for this date is 0.47 inches in 1947.

The storm left as quickly as it appeared, and half hours later, the sun was shining, the officials said. Some euro area residents who wanted to harm themselves created extra work for the professionals see as the traffic became congested along the street, officials said.

"Main Street is the busiest road in Montana," said Lieutenant Cady. Officials had planned to get people to dissuade the city to drive to tour the damage, he said.

Officials remain a flash flood warning for the central Yellowstone County until 21:45

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