Northwood, N.D., has lost about 2 percent of its population since the Aug. 26 tornado that killed one person, injured 18 and caused an estimated

$60 million in damage.

Northwood officials believe the city's population is just about 1,000.

While much of the city evacuated for a time after the tornado, a count this month indicates 30 people still are displaced.

But 11 others have moved to the Grand Forks County community in the five months since the disaster, resulting in a net loss of 19, according to Marcy Douglas, city administrator.

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City officials determined that figure last week as they verified current utility accounts and the displacement of residents. The numbers account for those who are in the process of buying, building or have firm rental commitments.

"Many residents are excited to be in their repaired or new homes. It is very reassuring to see the desire of the residents to return home, to Northwood, as soon as they are able," Douglas said.

The 2,000 census listed Northwood's population at 959. At the time of the census, 42 houses in the community were listed for sale, compared with six for sale just before last year's tornado, she said. "That's where it's very safe to say were we were over 1,000 prior to the tornado," she said.

The recovery process continues. At the end of December, the city had issued 106 building permits for $7 million worth of construction projects, either demolition, rebuilding or new construction.

Guenthner's Super Valu, the only grocery store in town, will reopen Monday. It was destroyed by the tornado.

A new 16-unit apartment complex is under construction.

City sales and purchases show the pace of the recovery.

In the third quarter of 2007, the local sales totaled

$4.1 million, a 39 percent increase over the $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2006. The first and second quarters of 2007 showed increases over the corresponding quarter of 2006 of 14.7 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

"It is very sad to have lost some residents, and we certainly hope we have not lost those forever," Mayor Richard Johnson said. "We sincerely hope they will give Northwood a try again later this year when more housing will be available."

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.