SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4) – An EF-2 tornado touched down and caused damage on Father’s Day, Sunday morning, near the summit of US-191 in remote southwestern Duchesne County, according to the National Weather Service Office in Salt Lake City.
The National Weather Service completed its damage survey Tuesday, and the report clocks the estimated peak wind at 125 miles per hour and cites the tornado path as longer than two miles.
The NWS Damage survey, which is preliminary, says the tornado developed near US-191 and Argyle Canyon which is the SW corner of Duchesne County above 9,000 feet in elevation. Damage was noted in this area and suggests the twister moved north over a ridge line and into a valley near Indian Canyon.
The report says the tornado then descended to a creek and dropped down in elevation to about 8500 feet, and it’s when the twister strengthened and the width increased causing noticeable damage in an aspen and conifer forest. This was the area with the most damage from the tornado, with obvious trees snapped and completely blown down facing the roadside. Treetops and limbs were found along this creek and road.
NWS damage surveyors said the tornado then crossed US-191 and ascended the hillside from about 8500 feet to another ridge on the northwest side of the road to an elevation of about 9100 feet. Damage was noted north of US-191 where trees were uprooted or snapped.
The crew observing the damage says a few toppled trees were noted into the next basin over the ridge on the north side of the road, and identify that as the last recognizable damage from the tornado. This means the tornado was on the ground and created a more than two-mile damage path.
Tornadoes are classified by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and this tornado falls into an EF-2 which packs winds between 111 to 135 miles per hour and is classified as “strong.”
Utah averages three tornados a year statewide, and last year, four tornados were confirmed throughout the state including in Juab, Emery, Weber and Davis Counties. The confirmed tornadoes in Juab, Emery and Weber counties were landspout tornadoes, which are nonsupercell tornados. These are defined with narrow, rope-like condensation funnels that form when a thunderstorm cloud is still growing with no rotating updraft.
A spinning motion originates near the ground with these, so a vertically oriented column of air exists. Landspouts are usually weak and short-lived, but can still pack winds up to 100 miles per hour. The tornadoes in 2021 near Mona, Utah and Huntington, Utah were captured on camera and shared on social media in early July. The Weber County tornado happened in late July of 2021 and was initially classified as a dust devil, then reclassified.
The Davis County tornado in early September of 2021 was classified as an EF-1 tornado and also had a path of more than two miles. Several rounds of thunderstorms brought severe weather hazards to the state of Utah, including flash flooding in southern and eastern Utah, and damaging winds, hail, and a tornado in Northern Utah.
This tornado caused damage in North Salt Lake, Utah, then lifted, touched back down and brought damage to Woods Cross, Utah. The setup for this was different than a landspout. This was a more classic tornado in which the necessary ingredients are found in major thunderstorms. It’s usually warm, humid conditions near the surface, cool air at altitude, and winds that move quickly and flow in opposite directions to create rotation.
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