A severe thunderstorm tracked across eastern Natrona County for nearly two hours on Wednesday producing large hail and even a short-lived tornado. No injuries or damage were attributed to the tornado.
The storm intensified over rural central portions of the county before progressing east along Poison Spider Road. A Special Weather Statement issued at 1:46 p.m. mentioned that the storm would be near Emigrant Gap by 2:30 p.m. Signs of rotation within the storm were evident shortly after 2:00 p.m. as the storm strengthened. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 2:11 p.m. The first reports of damaging hail came at 2:33 p.m. from trained spotters near Poison Spider School where stones up to 1.25 inches in diameter fell. A wall cloud and an intermittent funnel cloud were also observed by these spotters. Soon after this time, the storm began to intensify on the south flank in response to weak showers moving northeast into the storm’s environment.
A second Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 2:44 p.m. as the storm neared Red Buttes Village southwest of Casper. The storm was expected to be near Casper at 3:00 p.m. Reports of nickel sized (0.88 inch diameter) to 1.50 inch diameter hail were received as the storm crossed State Highway 220 near Red Buttes Village. As the storm progressed east-northeast it again intensified near the west end of Casper Mountain. Hail up to the size of golf balls (1.75 inch diameter) fell along Wyoming Boulevard between CY Avenue and the Casper Country Club from 3:00 until 3:13 p.m. Spotters reported a large funnel between 3:05 and 3:07 p.m. and a Tornado Warning was issued. A sheriff’s deputy and fire chief both reported a brief tornado at 3:12 p.m. on Wyoming Boulevard between Casper Mountain Road and McKinley Street. The storm began to exhibit less rotation and weakened as it moved near the McMurry Business Park and Hat Six Road by 3:30 p.m. Penny to nickel sized hail occurred with this storm as it tracked east to the Converse County line.
*Photo Courtesy of spotter Cindy Rose