Aug 092010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

EF4 tornado confirmed in Minnesota

It is now confirmed by the NWS damage team that the tornado that occurred Saturday, August 7 in Wilkin County, MN was a low end EF4 tornado. More information here.

I also wanted to share this tornado footage someone posted on YouTube of the Wilkin county tornado, likely shot after it caused the EF4 damage in Minnesota. This video is amazing. It reminds me a lot of my Manchester, SD tornado footage from June 24, 2003 after the tornado move north of town and into open farm fields.



Monday, 9 August 2010

On Saturday, August 7, a supercell tracked from southeastern North Dakota to west central Minnesota, producing at least two tornadoes and causing significant damage. Thankfully, there were no major injuries or fatalities.

The most significant damage occurred in southeastern North Dakota where a pickup truck was thrown a half mile into a field, with the engine block thrown nearly two thirds of a mile (damage pics here). The tornado was nearly a half mile wide at that time. According to the NWS office in Grand Forks, North Dakota, this tornado was at least an EF3. But, it could have an even higher rating on the Enhanced Eujita scale, once the final damage survey is complete.

This is all very impressive. I was out of town when the tornadoes occurred, and didn’t have a chance to look at the setup. I did glance at the SPC Outlook at some point on Saturday, and they only had a 5% risk for tornadoes. They may have upgraded at some point, but I don’t know. The point is this event didn’t look like one likely to produce violent, photogenic tornadoes. Yet, it produced at least two tornadoes, one with at least an EF3 rating. That’s impressive.

This tornado event is a great example of a day that ends up producing good tornadoes, even though the setup didn’t look that great. These kinds of events happen more often than you might expect. For example, I chased several tornadoes on May 12, 2004 in southern Kansas. That day the SPC had a 5% risk for tornadoes. But, one supercell ended up producing several tornadoes, one which destroyed a house in Harper County, KS. Another was a large wedge tornado, rated F4.

It’s a very good thing these tornadoes moved through rural areas. Had they struck in a more populated region, significant injuries and possibly fatalities may have occurred.

Oh, and this is another day to add to the list of significant August tornadoes. This year has simply been amazing. I mean, seriously, just when I think the season may be winding down, there’s another violent tornado to talk about. It makes me wonder how many more violent tornado days we’ll have over the next few months. We are, after all, getting closer to the fall ‘tornado season’. There are usually a couple good tornado setups in the mid September to mid October window. We’ll see…

- Jim