Strongest tornado of 2018

Strongest tornado of the year

  • Elon, VA 04/15

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tescott, KS 05/01

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Gillette, WY 06/01

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Laramie, WY 06/06

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Camp Crook, SD 06/28

    Votes: 4 57.1%
  • Alonsa, MB 08/03

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Other (please clarify)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7
#1
2018 will likely end up as the first year on record in which no officially-rated violent tornadoes occurred in the United States. This year has now beaten 2005 and entered unprecedented territory, and it has now been nearly 19 months since the last officially-rated violent tornado. With that said, it's likely that even though this year has been below-average in terms of numbers, the lack of any EF4/EF5-rated tornadoes is because of "La Plata syndrome" (excessively conservative ratings in the years following an overrated tornado) and not because no violent tornadoes have occurred this year.

Since Stormtrack has similar threads debating the strongest tornado of the year, I thought I would add one here.

It's pretty much impossible to objectively say that one tornado was stronger than another one, but from what I've seen, the Camp Crook, SD tornado on June 28 was probably the strongest of the year, just based on the vehicle damage. A 10,000 pound tractor was tossed a mile and a half and ripped to pieces, a few cars disappeared and were never found, and other farm equipment including a livestock trailer was tossed. There also are photos of what appears to be EF4-style debarking of trees. The Laramie, WY tornado on June 6 and maybe the Douglas, WY tornado on July 28 probably reached EF4 strength at some point as well.
 
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Harvest, Alabama
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#2
The SD/MT one was really the only highly chasable storm of the year except for Wyoming.

There ARE some rumblings of a warm December with an active jet, which may give us a couple more chances at it before new years. Theres a system around Thanksgiving Weekend that needs watching but the synoptic setup for it doesnt jump out at me like the early month one did (which in true 2018 fashion downtrended majorly with mere hours to spare)
 
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jackson tennessee
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#3
The SD/MT one was really the only highly chasable storm of the year except for Wyoming.

There ARE some rumblings of a warm December with an active jet, which may give us a couple more chances at it before new years. Theres a system around Thanksgiving Weekend that needs watching but the synoptic setup for it doesnt jump out at me like the early month one did (which in true 2018 fashion downtrended majorly with mere hours to spare)
December looks to be up in the air now... all depends on and if the scandanavian block sets up... that could throw a big momkey wrench in the December month....
 
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1,864
Location
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
#4
I see a lot of subtropical influence heading forward from here on out. That thing is ramping up to no one's surprise...after all, we're entrenched within a respectable El Nino.
 
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13
Location
Vancouver
#5
With that said, it's likely that even though this year has been below-average in terms of numbers, the lack of any EF4/EF5-rated tornadoes is because of "La Plata syndrome" (excessively conservative ratings in the years following an overrated tornado) and not because no violent tornadoes have occurred this year.
I disagree with this. What few stronger tornadoes we've had have generally remained out in very rural areas with limited structures to yield a higher rating.

This year really has been that poor from a severe weather perspective, although very positive in terms of fatalities and property loss.
 
#6
I disagree with this. What few stronger tornadoes we've had have generally remained out in very rural areas with limited structures to yield a higher rating.
Well, structures are not the only ways of estimating a tornado's strength. This year's Camp Crook, SD tornado tossed a 10,000 pound tractor over a mile and a half and ripped it to pieces, and completely debarked a few trees. The National Weather Service office in Rapid City estimated its winds at 136 mph, which is barely EF3. Straight-line winds that high have been recorded in hurricanes and derechos, and there are no examples of that sort of vehicle damage from those storms. Also, on the old Fujita scale, the 5/6/1973 Valley Mills, Texas tornado was rated F5 based on a pickup truck being tossed a much shorter distance than 1.5 miles, and although that rating was probably too high, there certainly is precedent for giving a tornado a rating based on how far vehicles are moved. The Camp Crook tornado was probably mid-range EF4 based on vehicle damage alone.

The Laramie, WY tornado also scoured grass from the ground in a swath a third of a mile wide. An EF3 rating is understandable if the grass is scoured in a streak a few feet long or only from hillsides, but this was consistent and intense grass scouring that is very suggestive of a violent tornado.
 
Last edited:
Messages
13
Location
Vancouver
#7
Well, structures are not the only ways of estimating a tornado's strength. This year's Camp Crook, SD tornado tossed a 10,000 pound tractor over a mile and a half and ripped it to pieces, and completely debarked a few trees. The National Weather Service office in Rapid City estimated its winds at 136 mph, which is barely EF3. Straight-line winds that high have been recorded in hurricanes and derechos, and there are no examples of that sort of vehicle damage from those storms. Also, on the old Fujita scale, the 5/6/1973 Valley Mills, Texas tornado was rated F5 based on a pickup truck being tossed a much shorter distance than 1.5 miles, and although that rating was probably too high, there certainly is precedent for giving a tornado a rating based on how far vehicles are moved. The Camp Crook tornado was probably mid-range EF4 based on vehicle damage alone.

The Laramie, WY tornado also scoured grass from the ground in a swath a third of a mile wide. An EF3 rating is understandable if the grass is scoured in a streak a few feet long or only from hillsides, but this was consistent and intense grass scouring that is very suggestive of a violent tornado.
But I don't agree that it's due to "La Plata" syndrome. That is more the case when you have a tornado that produced a large amount of damage indicative of a higher rating (e.g. Westminster, TX in 2006), but was not.

I realize contextual/non-conventional DIs have been used in the past, but to suggest the lack of EF4+ tornadoes this year was a result of La Plata syndrome is overcooking it a bit.

I do agree that the Camp Creek and Laramie tornadoes were likely violent, but it's more a case like Coleridge, NE in 2014.
 
Messages
9
Location
Lenexa, KS
#8
2018 will likely end up as the first year on record in which no officially-rated violent tornadoes occurred in the United States. This year has now beaten 2005 and entered unprecedented territory, and it has now been nearly 19 months since the last officially-rated violent tornado. With that said, it's likely that even though this year has been below-average in terms of numbers, the lack of any EF4/EF5-rated tornadoes is because of "La Plata syndrome" (excessively conservative ratings in the years following an overrated tornado) and not because no violent tornadoes have occurred this year.

Since Stormtrack has similar threads debating the strongest tornado of the year, I thought I would add one here.

It's pretty much impossible to objectively say that one tornado was stronger than another one, but from what I've seen, the Camp Crook, SD tornado on June 28 was probably the strongest of the year, just based on the vehicle damage. A 10,000 pound tractor was tossed a mile and a half and ripped to pieces, a few cars disappeared and were never found, and other farm equipment including a livestock trailer was tossed. There also are photos of what appears to be EF4-style debarking of trees. The Laramie, WY tornado on June 6 and maybe the Douglas, WY tornado on July 28 probably reached EF4 strength at some point as well.
I highly agree with you on the Camp Crook, South Dakota tornado. The guy who lost the tractor said he never found any indication of it being dragged. It was completely picked up and torn to pieces with debris littered for 3 miles.
 

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