BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A tornado that ripped the roof off a sports arena in Billings also tore apart a casino, bar and coin-operated laundry in the city's downtown area.
National Guard troops and local police are keeping a close eye on damaged property after the tornado barreled through two Billings neighborhoods, tearing the roof off the 10,000-seat Rimrock Auto Arena and several buildings. The tornado hit at about 4:30 p.m. yesterday, running through Main Street and damaging about 10 small businesses in the city's northeast area before quickly moving toward the sports arena about a half-mile away.
Trooper Toman Baukema of the Montana Highway Patrol says as the storm system passed through the area, it dropped golf ball-sized hail as well.
The tornado appeared to have picked up the roof from an auto glass shop and dumped it into a nearby creek, leaving nothing but the walls of the shop standing. Baukema says the tornado hovered over the Rimrock Auto Arena for about 15 minutes, touching down at the 10,000-seat venue several times.
No injuries have been reported.
Video of the tornado hitting Billings is posted at sheridanmedia.com.