June 11th Dawes County Nebraska EF1 Tornado

Dawes County Tornado
June 11th, 2013
A severe thunderstorm affected southwest Dawes County, Nebraska, during the mid-evening hours on Tuesday, 11 June. The storm first developed over east central Sioux county, and intensified as it moved to the south and east of Crawford between 8:15 and 8:30 PM MDT. Radar began showing rotation during this time, indicating the storm had become a supercell (i.e. a storm with a persistent, rotating updraft). In particular, this storm was an LP, or low-precipitation supercell. LP supercells are usually not associated with heavy precipitation due to a lack of moisture available to the storm, but sometimes can produce weak tornadoes as well as large and damaging hail. 

The image shown below is from the Cheyenne NWS Doppler Radar at 8:25 PM MDT that evening. Radar reflectivity is on the left-hand side, with storm relative motion (SRM) on the right. The green colors on the SRM product indicate winds moving toward the radar, while the reds indicate winds moving away from the radar. Those two colors are seen side-by-side, which is an indication of rotation within the storm. This circulation produced a tornado which initially touched down at 8:31 PM MDT about 19 miles south-southwest of Chadron, Nebraska, and moved about one mile to the east-southeast before dissipating several minutes later. 


Fig. 1. KCYS (Cheyenne, WY) Doppler radar at 8:25 PM MDT on 11 June 2013.

A storm survey team from the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne conducted a damage assessment on Thursday, 13 June. The survey confirmed that an EF1 tornado occurred between 8:31 PM and 8:38 PM on 11 June, with maximum wind gusts to 110 MPH. A non-continuous damage path of about one mile was determined, indicating the tornado may have skipped several times. The maximum width was estimated to be around 40 yards. The tornado touched down just west of the the intersection of Hough Road, initially snapping trees and telephone poles prior to damaging several structures along its path to the east. Sixteen or more structures were damaged, with at least eight outbuildings destroyed. Two horse trailers were also thrown several hundred feet. No injuries or fatalities were attributed to this event. 


Fig. 2. LP Supercell with tornado on 11 June 2013. Photo courtesy of John Scherbarth.

Fig. 3. Dawes County tornado on 11 June 2013. Photo courtesy of Lanie Chester.


Fig. 4. Damage path of the Dawes county tornado.



Fig. 5. Outbuilding destroyed.

Fig. 6. Destroyed shed with mangled steel beams. This structure may have taken a direct hit from the tornado.

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