Tornado Causes Significant Damage in LaMoure County, ND, July 17

Photos and radar imagery are included at the end of this text.
The employees of the Bismarck National Weather Service express sympathy
to the residents of Lamoure County affected by this tornado.
We thank the residents of Lamoure County, Lamoure County Emergency
Manager, Lamoure County Sheriff, and North Dakota Highway Patrol
for assisting with gathering details during this damage assessment.
The emergency manager and sheriff of Lamoure County escorted NWS
officials and saved the NWS many hours of assessment time.
On Monday...a Bismarck NWS (National Weather Service) damage assessment
team surveyed parts of Stutsman...Lamoure...and Dickey counties
North Dakota.
Southern Stutsman County...the only observed damage was to trees
about 3 miles west of Sydney...along county road 38. The damage was
consistent with high thunderstorm winds around 70 mph.
Northern Dickey damage was observed. A tornado observed
Sunday evening 3 miles north of Fullerton impacted no structures and
so did no damage. This was a brief touchdown of the tornado in a
In Lamoure County...very significant tornado damage was observed.
An EF3 tornado struck Lamoure County on Sunday, July 17, 2011.
Injuries...1 (one) minor
Tornado rating...EF3 (high end / upper bound EF3)
Associated wind speeds...maximum 165 mph
Location...touchdown 7 miles southeast of Nortonville, moved
southeast, and lifted 6 miles south-southeast of Berlin
Path length...15 miles
Path width...maximum 1/2 mile
Time...estimated 605 pm CDT to 645 pm CDT
The tornado touched down near the intersection of 62nd ST SE and
86th Ave SE. It moved southeast across Russell...Wano...Henrietta
and Badger townships before lifting near the intersection of 76th ST
SE and 94th Ave SE. It passed just to the west and south of the city
of Berlin.
There was damage all along the tornado path. No fewer than five
farmsteads were impacted, one farmhouse damaged beyond repair and
one completely destroyed. Numerous power poles and trees along the
path were snapped. Hail as large as hockey pucks, 3 inches
diameter, fell along and outside the tornado path.
Some of the worst damage...
Along 71st ST SE...a farm house was completely destroyed and debris
strewn through fields. Outbuildings were destroyed. A van parked in
the home’s attached garage ended up about 500 feet away, destroyed.
A pickup truck in the same garage was found nearly a half mile away
and was almost unrecognizable as a motor vehicle.
Along 86th Ave SE...a farm home was damaged beyond repair with the
roof and garage torn off and one wall collapsed. This is where the
injury occurred. Outbuildings were destroyed. Farm animals were
Along 93rd Ave SE...a farm home had damage but it appeared the
tornado did not directly hit it. However, outbuildings were
demolished and vehicles and farm equipment inside ended up hundreds
of feet away, in one case about 700 feet away. Debris was strewn
for a few miles to the southeast, the direction of tornado travel.
This property had a significant number of very large hard and soft
wood trees. Nearly all were either uprooted or snapped. In one grove
of trees the violent nature of a tornado was evidenced by the
twisted trees.
The rating of a tornado is based on the damage done. From that
damage the EF rating is assigned and from that EF number the
wind speeds are determined.
Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado rating…
EF0...65 to 85 mph
EF1...86 to 110 mph
EF2...111 to 135 mph
EF3...136 to 165 mph
EF4...166 to 200 mph
EF5...over 200 mph
Tony Merriman - Senior Forecaster

JP Martin - Warning Coordination Meteorologist

Photos Taken of the Tornado Damage




Radar Imagery of the Tornado. 

Reflectivity Imagery on the Left, Velocity Imagery on the Right.  Classic 'hook' reflectivity signature, combined with strong gate-to-gate wind shear on the velocity data (indicative of very strong rotation and strongly suggesting a Tornado). The first two images are near the time of the intial tornado touchdown. The tornado moved southeast.  The last two images show where the tornado tracked just west of Berlin.



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