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Funnel cloud photographed just west of Kenmare

It’s amazing how fast social media can work in an emergency. Within minutes residents of a local farmstead were warned of an approaching funnel cloud after their daughter saw photos of it on Facebook.

6/23/15 (Tue)


Reaching down . . .
A funnel cloud spotted and photographed by April Helwig just to the west of the Greg and Lea Ankenbauer farm west of Kenmare Sunday afternoon apparently didn’t touch down or cause any damage. Lea Ankenbauer said the funnel moved and dissipated quickly. 


By Marvin Baker

It’s amazing how fast social media can work in an emergency. Within minutes residents of a local farmstead were warned of an approaching funnel cloud after their daughter saw photos of it on Facebook.

Lea Ankenbauer said she was unaware that a funnel cloud was looming just to the west of her farm at approximately 4 p.m., Sunday afternoon.

Her husband Greg had just gotten home as it started to rain but didn’t notice any clouds as dangerous as a funnel approaching from the northwest.

April Helwig got off work from the Kenmare Super Valu store at 4 p.m. As she left work, she noticed the dark clouds, took a closer look and saw the funnel cloud west of the Ankenbauer farm.

She snapped some pictures at 4:05 with her mobile phone and posted them to Facebook.

Ankenbauer’s daughter saw the photos and immediately called home and asked her parents to go to the basement.

By that time, the Ankenbauers took another look and the funnel had dissipated.

“I didn’t know it until my daughter called me,” Ankenbauer said. “We didn’t hear any sirens.”

In addition, Ankenbauer said the storm that had been building most of the afternoon, didn’t seem like one that would have been consistent with tornadoes.

“It was pretty calm, but it was raining,” she said. “There wasn’t any hail, but it was pouring rain.”

She added that the storm clouds were thick enough to create an illusion of darkness at 4 p.m., on the summer solstice, when the sun set about 10 p.m.

The storm passed quickly, dropped .40 of an inch at the Ankenbauer farm and didn’t do any damage or harm any of the livestock.

Helwig said she saw the clouds building just as she walked out of the Super Valu building and at that time it was just starting to sprinkle.

“The first picture I took looked like a tornado,” Helwig said. “It lasted about 5 minutes.”

About that time she called the Kenmare Police Department and was told it was being monitored.

“I’m intrigued by it. I like storms,” Helwig said. “I’m glad it didn’t touch down and I’m glad nobody got hurt.”

Other weather related reports around the region included marble to quarter-sized hail west of Donnybrook that may have damaged some crops and an inch of rain in Carpio in 30 minutes.

Pea-sized hail that turned the ground white for a brief period of time, accompanied that storm and poured rain enough to temporarily flood the streets and ditches... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!