Mud Roads and Tornados of Sanborn Co. South Dakota

After the Woonsocket tornado dissipated we rushed east; we had photographed the Woonsocket storm while looking over our shoulder knowing was was building behind us. The trick was how to get east, back to highway 37 and north was easy, but then what road? We settled on a dirt road, rural route 224 I think , but I never saw any numbers. A couple of chasers were ahead of us, but much of the pack had taken other paths. Our county road led us right along the side a rapidly spinning wall cloud that produced occasional funnels, but no tornado.

All images and text © copyright Gene Moore unless otherwise indicated.

  developing tornados southeast

I love this shot! For me, it says everything about chasing - out of sunshine and into the darkness. Many times features such as the developing tornados on the right cannot be seen until we get under the storm. Fortunately the rain soaked and muddy road had enough rock to keep us on the crest and out of the ditches. Still, our rented mini-van did not appreciate the trip and swerved occasionally adding one more level of excitement, that maybe we didn't need.


Big changes have taken place since the last image. Big storms are showing up in all directions. Fortunately the large clear spot over South Dakota is southwest of our storm.


Images courtesy of WeatherTap Inc.

One main cell and two smaller cells consolidate to keep the supercell powered up for more tornados. Severe storms over the SE part of the state are producing tornados.

Note the outflow boundary (OFB) leaving the complex of storms in far southeast South Dakota persists through this loop.

developing tornado Sanborne Co. tornado southeast

An isolated shot of the south funnel that was in progress to our south-southeast. These funnels had intermittent touchdowns from 6:59 - to 7:05 PM.


Another shot of the funnel off to our southeast. It appeared to be a tornado during this stage of its lifecycle.


ugly picture of a rope tornado

These two funnels we believe were brief tornadoes, although the debris was somewhat distant from us. Regardless they put on a nice show over open country.


This long skinny tornado was at 7:16 PM and shows condensation to the ground in my 35 mm slide. Unfortunately the scanner couldn't pick up the detail very will. I would have missed this one had a couple of chasers pointed it out as we got ready to jog east and our road turned to hard surface again. Was this only a skinny little tornado, or the rope out (dissipation stage) of a larger tornado?

tornado with funnel tornado northeast

Two funnels in progress to our north-north east. The right funnel became the tornado and developed a second satellite tornado that rotated cyclonically around the large one. We believe the funnel on the left dissipated without touching down.


This tornado was from approximately 7:20 - 7:26 PM. This was the last tornado off to the north from this wall cloud before the circulation changed. As this tornado dissipated the wall cloud modified from a small tight circulation to a very large violent circulation. This was the beginning of the Manchester tornado.

Go to Manchester Tornado page