Tornado reported near Estelline Saturday

Sean and Kathy Lesnar Facebook image: This still image, taken from a video posted by Sean and Kathy Lesnar on Facebook, shows a tornado touchdown about 5.5 miles northeast of Estelline on Saturday evening, near Interstate 29.

BROOKINGS – There were no reports of tornado touchdowns from Saturday’s storms in Brookings County, but that wasn’t the case in Deuel County.

A brief tornado touchdown was reported at 6:05 p.m. Saturday about 5.5 miles northeast of Estelline, just west of Interstate 29, according to Steve Fleegel, science and operations officer at the Aberdeen National Weather Service office.

Fleegel says video captured of the tornado, posted by Sean and Kathy Lesnar on Facebook, shows it on the ground about 45 seconds to a minute. It knocked down about seven trees at a farmstead. No injuries were reported.

“The tornado was moving in an easterly direction, and the tornado tossed tree branches to the south and west from the group of trees that were knocked down. One of the trees hit the corner of a shed and bent part of the metal overhang on the shed,” according to a report from the NWS Aberdeen office. 

“Based off radar data, damage report, and a Facebook video, the tornado that occurred northeast of Estelline appears to be a very rare ‘anticyclonic’ tornado, which means that it was rotating in a clockwise direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, nearly all of the tornadoes that occur rotate in a counter-clockwise (‘cyclonic’) direction and estimates indicate that maybe only 1% of tornadoes are anticyclonic like the one that occurred on June 15,” the NWS report continued.

“This storm split off from the parent thunderstorm and moved easterly, while the parent storm continued to the southeast. Meteorologists define these types of storms as ‘left moving’ since they move to the left of the storm that they split from.”

No tornadoes in Brookings County

The National Weather Service out of Sioux Falls confirmed that there were a couple of funnel cloud reports in Brookings County Saturday, but no actual touchdowns.

Hail, high winds and funnel clouds interrupted people’s plans, but no major damage was reported, according to Bob Hill, director of Emergency Management. 

The sirens went off twice in Brookings, once around lunch time and the other around supper. 

“The first time the sirens were sounded, there was no damage. It was a funnel that never touched down, so no tornado,” he said.

“The second one was a typhoon type rain storm, dropping over an inch of rain in a few minutes. I requested the sirens that time because if there was a tornado, it was on top of us then,” Hill said.

Damage was minimal from the extreme weather. 

“Other than the underpass flooding and street flooding in Brookings, I did not observe any damage. I drove over to Elkton on Saturday afternoon looking, but saw no damage,” Hill said.


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