Pringle hit with damaging winds
Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2012
A powerful burst of wind that hit Pringle last Friday evening uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a pole barn.
It was around 7 p.m. June 22 when the wind hit. Denise Morgan was at her Main Street home in Pringle when she felt the wind become so violent it prompted her to look outside for funnel clouds. About that time, she noticed flashing from the power lines, as if something had hit them. That something turned out to be debris from the roof of her and her husband Bob’s polr barn.
“It was sparking and arcing all over,”âï¿½ï¿½she said.âï¿½ï¿½“And it was over that quickly.”
Eric and Janice Rothleutner watched the entire situation develop form their front door. They were standing watching the storm develop, when Gary said he thought it looked like a tornado was forming and went outside and felt wind coming from all directions.
At that point he told Janice to get back into the house, where they watched from the door again and saw Morgan’s pole barn break off and fly through the air, as well as the broken power lines. At that point, the couple headed toward the basement. When the wind quit, they went back up to assess the damage. The roof of the Morgan pole barn had landed in their driveway. Two of their vehicles had been smashed by the debris, one of which was completely totalled. A couple of their trees were broken in half.
Gary and Carol Jensen also had trees damaged, as six trees on their property were uprooted by the wind. Gary Jensen said the uprooted trees were fairly big pine trees, 16 to 18 inches in diameter.
“We were just sitting there and all of a sudden there was a really loud wind that came through the south side of the property, where all the pine trees are, and it just blew them over,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.âï¿½ï¿½“It only lasted a minute or so. It was one heck of a wind.”
Official word from the National Weather Service is that it was not a tornado, but straight line winds that hit the town. The winds were very localized, as in some parts of Pringle, residents did not even know the wind was that bad.
Melissa Smith, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Rapid City, said the difference between a straight line wind and a tornado is that tornadic winds move in a circular motion, while a straight line wind does just as the name would suggest. That doesn’t mean a straight line wind is any less powerful, she said, as the winds that hit Pringle could have easily been over 100 mph, although there is no wind observation equipment in town.
Smith said the straight line winds were caused by what is known as a microburst, which is a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight line winds at the surface that are similar to, but distinguishable from, tornadoes, which generally have convergent damage.
A microburst often has high winds that can knock over fully grown trees. They usually last for a a couple of seconds to several minutes.
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