THE SPENCER SOUTH DAKOTA TORNADO HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY CLASSIFIED


UPON COMPLETION OF GROUND AND AERIAL DAMAGE SURVEYS CONDUCTED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...THE TORNADO THAT HIT SPENCER SD ON SATURDAY NIGHT MAY 30 1998 HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY CLASSIFIED AS AN F4 ON THE FUJITA RATING SCALE. THIS RATING MEANS WIND SPEEDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TORNADO HAVE BEEN ESTIMATED BETWEEN 207 AND 260 MPH CAUSING DEVASTATING DAMAGE. THIS ESTIMATION HAS BEEN SUPPORTED BY THE NATIONAL SEVERE STORMS LABORATORY'S PORTABLE DOPPLER RADAR THAT WAS ON LOCATION AS THE TORNADO APPROACHED SPENCER.

THE FUJITA SCALE IS A DAMAGE CLASSIFICATION THAT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE USES TO RATE ALL TORNADOES. THE SCALE GOES FROM F0...WHICH IS THE WEAKEST...TO F5...WHICH IS THE STRONGEST. THIS SCALE WAS DEVELOPED BY PROFESSOR EMERITUS THEODORE FUJITA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

BESIDES THE TORNADO THAT HIT SPENCER...FIVE OTHER TORNADOES OCCURRED IN THE VICINITY OF SPENCER THAT EVENING. THE RATINGS FOR THOSE TORNADOES (AS WELL AS SPENCER'S) ARE LISTED BELOW.

LOCATION OF TORNADO FUJITA RATING SCALE
SPENCER SD (MCCOOK COUNTY) F4
6 NE OF FULTON SD (HANSON COUNTY) F1
2 N OF FULTON SD (HANSON COUNTY) F2
2 SE OF ALEXANDRIA SD (HANSON COUNTY) F1
3 SE OF ALEXANDRIA SD (HANSON COUNTY) F1
2 E OF MONROE SD (TURNER COUNTY) F1

THE LAST TORNADO OF F4 STRENGTH TO AFFECT SOUTH DAKOTA WAS THE COLMAN TORNADO ON JUNE 7 1993. THAT TORNADO RESULTED IN FIVE INJURIES. BEFORE THE SPENCER TORNADO...THE LAST DEATH DUE TO A TORNADO TO OCCUR IN SOUTH DAKOTA WAS ON JULY 14 1970 IN LINCOLN COUNTY.

IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE RATING OF THESE TORNADOES...PLEASE CONTACT GREG HARMON OR TODD HEITKAMP AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN SIOUX FALLS.

D. GREGORY HARMON
METEOROLOGIST IN CHARGE
NWSFO SIOUX FALLS


Majority of the information concerning tornadoes in South Dakota for May 30, 1998 on this HTML page was officially issued through a Public Information Statement by the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, SD.  The original product header is presented below.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SIOUX FALLS SD
1132 AM CDT WED JUN 3 1998

This HTML page was last modified June 3, 1998.


The Colman SD Tornado (F4, 5 injured) - June 7, 1993

The following was reported in Storm Data June 1993 (Vol 35, No. 6):

A large tornado and it's attendant vortices left a swath of destruction from northwest Minnehaha County through western Moody County into eastern Brookings County.   Numerous farms and residences were destroyed or damaged and trees snapped off or uprooted.  Around 1630 CDT multiple vortices formed into the tornado two miles west of Lyons destroying barns and silos and killing animals on several farms.  Shortly after, the tornado leveled two houses, seriously injuring four people as they were buried in the rubble.  It then caused destruction on at least 10 more farms before entering the northwest side of Colman at 1700 CDT.

At least 15 homes in Colman had an estimated total of $250,000 in damage mainly due to the roofs either being blown off or trees falling on them.  At 1710 CDT the tornado damaged houses and trees three miles north-northeast of Colman.  Around 1715 CDT, 10 miles northwest of Flandreau, the tornado leveled a farm except for the silo, and injured a man who received multiple pelvis fractures.  On two farms, one 2 miles southwest of Aurora and the other 1 mile west of Aurora, buildings and grain bins were destroyed around 1735 CDT.  The tornado then continued north-northeast, wrecking irrigation systems and uprooting and snapping off hundreds of trees, before causing destruction on another farm about 6 miles northeast of Brookings around 1745 CDT.  Northeast of White, three farms sustained major damage to buildings and trees.  Cows were also killed and power lines downed.  In addition, heavy rains washed out culverts.

Click Here to Return to Statement Concerning the Spencer Tornado.


The SD Tornado and Severe Storms of July 14, 1970

The tornado crossed Interstate 29, 6 miles north of Beresford, and lifted a pickup truck. Both the driver and a passenger were injured, the driver fatally.  The following was reported in Storm Data July 1970 (Vol 12, No. 7):

A line of severe thunderstorms moved across the area from NW to SE with strong winds and large hail.  The hail averaging 1 to 2 inches with the largest to 5 inches caused widespread crop damage and considerable damage to buildings and automobiles.  The largest hail was in the Marion and Parker area.  There were many automobiles in this area that had an average body damage by the large hail of about $300 each.  The large hail went through a 3/4 inch plywood roof in Marion. Apparently, the most extensive damage from this storm was along a broad band from Mitchell through Parker and Beresford. Spotty areas reported up to 100% crop damage by hail.  Numerous windows were broken and roofs damaged.  The hail caused an estimated $1,000,000 crop damage and $70,000 property damage in Turner County.

In Lincoln County, the hail caused an estimated $8,000,000 crop damage and $2,000,000 property damage.  A tornado 6 miles north of Beresford on Interstate 29 picked up a pickup truck totally wrecking it, fatally injuring the driver and (injuring) a passenger at 2:30 p.m.  A funnel cloud aloft was sighted at 12:15 p.m. 5 miles SW of Mitchell.   A farmer was hospitalized with injuries when high winds blew him from a haystack near Yankton at 2:40 p.m.  Gusts of 70 MPH were reported at the Yankton airport at 2:30 p.m.  Gusts to 70 MPH were reported at the Yankton airport at 2:30 p.m.

Click Here to Return to Statement Concerning the Spencer Tornado.


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