It was may 30th 1998 and Spencer S.D

had just been wiped off the map by an F4 tornado, that supercell was the start of a derecho that would scream across minn, wis, mich, and new york state durning the overnight hours of the 30th and the morning and afternoon hours of the 31st. It effected many states, but i will talk about michigan, others feel free to talk about how this event effected you.

i remember waking up at 5, 6? am for no reason what so ever. I remember the dim glow of the sun just starting to show up outside. I turn on the TV, half asleep, and it happen to be turned on the local news station. i remember seeing T-Storm warnings up in a wall north/south west of me and then rememberd seeing a radar which showed a massive wall of storms, later i would know this was a derecho, racing toward me at 70mph.

Going downstairs, i waited along with others of my family for the storm. The wait was short lived, as only a half hour or so later a wall of wind slammed into the town, gusting to over 80mph as recorded by the local radio station's anemometer. NOTE: storm data shows winds of only 55knots, 60mph give/take occured here on that morning, that is wrong plain and simple. I have never seen winds this strong in my life and i have been in winds of 70-75mph after this event. It doesn't come close and the damage was just too great to be caused by a 60mph winds:

I remember the wind lasted for a good 10-15 mins after the first gusts, slowly subsiding afterward. Only a half hour later, the sun was out and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was as if nothing happened that morning, that was until you looked down the street and in every yard seen trees limbs and trees on the ground and on other things, car, houses, etc. Railroad crossing gates bent to the ground pointing due east, showing which way the winds have come from. I took about 42 pics of the damage on a cheap disposable cam. but lost it years ago without getting the pics. developed :(

I wish i would have been into weather more back then, as i would have took pics and/or video of the storm. That kicked off the weather obsession in me however, and if something similar comes knocking on the door again, you can damm well bet your house that i will have camera in hand.

Others? Anyone else witness this amazing event?
I live around 2 hours away from Spencer, SD...

Given that at this time I was 12 yrs old, but I was already interested in weather and was watching the radar with our local tv station. I knew there had been tornado warnings, but it wasn't until the 10 pm news that I then was informed of what had been a massive tornado just wiped through the town.

Needless to say this only strengthened my interest in weather...
I lived in Sioux Falls at the time. I dont remember much because I had food poisoning and spent a good part of that day in bed or in the bathroom throwing up.
What I do remember is waking up to tornado sirens and looking outside and being confused because it didnt look stormy at all at first!!!
We spent a good hour or so in the hall of our apt complex and after the storm had passed, I remember going outside and seeing shingles, tree branches and leaves all over.
I didnt get a chance to see any storm clouds or anything before the storm hit because I was sick and my husband had to entertain and deal with our 1 yr old. The rest of the night we were glued to the tv watching KELO live in Spencer.
I was in Philadelphia when the Spencer tornado happened, having gone there to visit for a few days after my chase vacation ended on the 26th. I flew back to SFO early on the morning of the 31st so I missed the chance to experience the derecho, although I was able to see the storms from the plane on the flight back.
SPC has a page documenting the derecho portion of this "system" available at

I think this was the day of severe wind damage very near my house in the southern St. Paul metro area. We actually lost two trees IIRC, which is crazy since we have NEVER lost a tree in our yard before nor since then. About a mile away, there was widespread tree damage in a foresty area, where NWS from MPX noted the likelihood of winds in the 100-120mph range. There was also awesome tree damage (and some roof damage) a few more miles down the road as well. It's odd to see a previously-forest-like area completely flattened.
I recall waking up in the night to a crack of lightning, hearing the wind, and thinking, "Whoa! Some storm!" That was an understatement. Living in a basement apartment at the time, I had no idea just how bad the weather really was. But I found out.

The area across town, near where my mother lives in Comstock Park, Michigan, got some of the highest winds in the event--estimates had them as high as 130 mph. In Riverside Park, giant cottonwood trees were snapped and smaller trees uprooted. Across the Grand River in North Park, a concrete block building had a couple walls ripped away. And just to the west, in Walker, I understand the damage hit its zenith, though I didn't check it out.

That derecho had to have been the grandpappy of them all. I've seen a few, including a derecho in the 1980s that packed 70 mph winds and did extensive damage, but this one gave me a wholehearted appreciation for what straight-line winds can do when they roll up their sleeves and get earnest.
I tracked that derecho throughout the night, i remember it was a saturday night into sunday morning, luckly it only swiped the extreme Northern burbs of the Chicago area

the time on the radar is wrong i think because milwaukee just got hit around 4am if i recall correctly