2003-06-24: South Dakota's Tornado Tuesday, six years on.

Mar 6, 2005
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Palaven
www.stormskies.com
I couldn't let today's date go unnoticed...and figured it probably warranted a spot in this section.

Six years ago today, the record-breaking South Dakota tornado outbreak occurred. Over southeast and east-central parts of the state, multiple tornadic supercells formed and provided many chasers with unparalelled career-chases. One tornadic supercell produced multiple tornadoes (including the F4 Manchester event) affecting communities including Mitchell, Woonsocket, Manchester and De Smet, while another dropped anywhere around 14 tornadoes in the Centerville/Davis/Parker swath.

The date is also largely known for the success that Tim Samaras' group enjoyed with the Woonsocket-Manchester supercell, which managed to obtain two significant pressure-drop readings from the Manchester F4 tornado, the most notable of which displayed a 100mb drop at time of impact of tornado. This tornado formed south of Manchester, SD and directly affected the town at possibly it's peak intensity as a roughly 1/2-mile-wide wedge as it moved north. Manchester was never re-built. The tornado continued north, constricting into a barrel, cone, elephant's trunk and rope before dissipating.

The Centerville storm was a prolific tornado-maker which provided chasers with a rare chance to watch as it spawned 14 tornadoes over a relatively small area.

A search on Google can bring up several of the many great chase stories from this date. It humbles me to be able to say that I was able to witness a part of the Woonsocket-Manchester supercell, and it's a day that I will never forget. It's hard to believe it was six years ago.

KP
 
May 22, 2007
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NE Oklahoma City
Hard to believe it's been 6 years since it's passed. I can almost remember that day like yesterday. The prior days were so hot, humid and just miserable. I remember going to work that day thinking something big was going to happen. At that time I was not a storm chaser, but I think the days prior were busts for anyone attempting to chase. Also remember the first warning coming out a little after 5 p.m. for just west of Mitchell, I believe. That day also perked my interest in storm chasing.

Last Thursday, Scott Olson and I made a stop in at the Manchester memorial. The damage is still quite visible.

So much came together to make the perfect storms.
 
Oh boy do I remember this day. I was a junior in college and headed out with the Twister Sisters on my first ever chase with them. Actually had only seen one tornado my entire life until this day and then saw 13 near Centerville! I was a poor college student and did not have a still camera so I borrowed my roommates Hi-8 camcorder to take along on the trip. The one thing I remember most is when there were two funnels rotating around the edge of the storm with their own wall clouds/mesocyclones, while two additional tornadoes were touching down at the same time. When it got dark and things really started turning dangerous, we bailed on the storm, although it kept producing tornadoes. We ended up at Chili's in Sioux Falls and had to take shelter in the cooler with everyone else when the storm moved over the city with reported funnels still on the storm. Up to that point, it was the most remarkable storm I had ever seen in my life and still is one of my most vividly remembered storm chases. I still bring out the video and watch it once in a while on SDS days. Sad to see that Manchester was wiped off the face of the earth from that tornado as well as all the damage associated with the Centerville tornadoes.
 
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Mar 21, 2007
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What was also interesting about this day was the nunber of tornadoes that also occurred in NE and MN, and the combined total of tornadoes from the three states was over 90, I think. In MN, there were 15 (dwarfed by the phenomenal total in SD), including storms that produced ten tornadoes near Willmar and Buffalo Lake MN. Only one chaser that I know of was on the tornadoes near Willmar; everyone else was in South Dakota (for good reason).

Todd
 
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John Wetter

SN President
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Dec 11, 2005
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I ended up about 5 minutes late for the Buffalo Lake, MN tornado... I remember calling Andrew Revering that night and talking about the funnel I saw and 'awesome wall cloud'. I asked him what he saw and he said 13 tornadoes (he was in the same group with Brad above). Boy did I feel silly...
 
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Mar 6, 2005
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Palaven
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Yes I remember now - I guess my experience with the Manchester storm has left me with tunnel-vision as far as this day's concerned. I had totally forgotten that there were active supercells in MN and, to a lesser extent, NE that day also. I seem to recall that the MN storm had spectacular radar structure - even more so than the Manchester storm which looked rather lean at times (all circulation no reflectivity? LOL).

I think it'd be pretty haunting to visit the site of Manchester again as Nick Harlety posted above. Something about seeing a tornado damage path overgrown and in the process of being reclaimed to nature makes it that much more haunting...especially when it's one that you stood on on the day of, so to speak.

KP


What was also interesting about this day was the nunber of tornadoes that also occurred in NE and MN, and the combined total of tornadoes from the three states was over 90, I think. In MN, there were 15 (dwarfed by the phenomenal total in SD), including storms that produced ten tornadoes near Willmar and Buffalo Lake MN. Only one chaser that I know of was on the tornadoes near Willmar; everyone else was in South Dakota (for good reason).

Todd
 
Mar 21, 2007
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I finally had time to check the NCDC site. There are 12 tornado entries for Nebraska that day, but really 11 tornadoes (Arnold and Brady entries being the same tornado). I also see 2 for IA. So a total of 95 tornadoes for the region that day. (sorry - south central WY is too far away for their one tornado to be added to the area surrounding FSD!)

Todd
 
Feb 23, 2015
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Minnesota
Hard to believe it's been 6 years since it's passed. I can almost remember that day like yesterday. The prior days were so hot, humid and just miserable. I remember going to work that day thinking something big was going to happen. At that time I was not a storm chaser, but I think the days prior were busts for anyone attempting to chase. Also remember the first warning coming out a little after 5 p.m. for just west of Mitchell, I believe. That day also perked my interest in storm chasing.

Last Thursday, Scott Olson and I made a stop in at the Manchester memorial. The damage is still quite visible.
[Broken External Image]:http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs112.snc1/4943_565709861906_116505151_33497770_3058835_n.jpg
So much came together to make the perfect storms.
The previous four days had been very hot and humid with Severe Weather Watches each day. The previous night(Monday) there had been a small tornado in Northeast South Dakota near where I was living at the time. I remember being on the phone with my folks and hearing the weather radio going off in the background and knowing more than likely I would have to go into work at the radio station where I was working at the time. Also earlier in the a afternoon of the Manchester tornado there were severe thunderstorm warnings in the Northeast Corner of South Dakota as I had to back into work for a bit to do some work before going back late that night. I had a staff members well phone number as she gave it to me because the legion baseball team was at home that night playing a doubleheader and a little after 6 PM CT I called her to alert her that there were tornado warnings for the opponents home county and were likely heading our way. Made for a long night.