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Suprise Storm Even Baffles the Experts

All joking aside about waiting five minutes for the weather to change, there is nothing funny about numerous vehicles pocked by hail stones on Thursday. 

One isolated storm generated in western Minnehaha County eventually spawned a tornado that briefly touched down north of Canton.  In between, golf ball-sized hail along with heavy rain and rotation in the clouds were the signature features of the squall that seized control of the late afternoon.

A morning shower seemed to extract all the rain from the sky with partly sunny skies taking hold during the early afternoon.  By noon the stage was set for the conclusion of precipitation for the day.

How quickly the events took place was a shock to Mike Gillespie of the National Weather Service.  Nonetheless, there is an explanation for the rude awakening.  “The secondary boundary that formed off to the west stayed stationary through the day and it was strong enough that it was able to touch off another round of thunderstorms.”  That weather jargon means the sun warmed the atmosphere in one area with cool air close by.  “The instability was just right that (this storm) tried to become tornadic.  We did have some funnel clouds around Sioux Falls.”

No damage was reported from the tornado and no injuries were reported from the conditions in Sioux Falls either.  Gillespie did say hail problems ruled the day.  “The main damage we’re hearing about is from the 1 to 2 inch hail that was pretty widespread through town.  Luckily there weren’t a lot of strong winds blowing that 2-inch hail around.  Things could have been a lot worse.”

The brunt of the storm was felt first by Humboldt and Hartford before sweeping through Sioux Falls, Harrisburg and Canton before crossing into Iowa and affecting Inwood, Rock Valley, Hull and Sioux Center.  Another isolated storm with tornado potential blossomed near Luverne yesterday as well.


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