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Severe thunderstorm yields another funnel cloud

A funnel cloud that developed north and west of Elaine Bauer’s farm near Kenmare drew numerous onlookers off U.S. Highway 52 Thursday afternoon.

6/30/15 (Tue)


Lightning strike . . . It’s not easy to catch lightning on camera, but Marvin Baker of The Kenmare News was fortunate to snap this shot on Thursday, looking west, from the back side of the Farmers Union Oil Company property at Kenmare. Brief periods of heavy rain, a funnel cloud and this lightning strike accompanied a fast-moving storm Thursday afternoon just west of Kenmare that moved toward Kenaston. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Ward County shortly before the heavy weather occurred.

By Marvin Baker

A funnel cloud that developed north and west of Elaine Bauer’s farm near Kenmare drew numerous onlookers off U.S. Highway 52 Thursday afternoon.

The funnel, which didn’t touch down, took a southerly path toward Kenaston and David Sigloh, who lives about 3 miles west of Kenaston, said the tornado was directly north of his farm at one point.

“Looks are deceiving, but it was straight north of the house,” Sigloh said. “It was on the other side of the trees so I couldn’t tell how close it got to the ground.”

Sigloh watched the dark, heavy clouds move toward him at 5 p.m. and said the funnel lasted about 3 minutes before dissipating.

During those 3 minutes, he witnessed the funnel drop out of the sky, go back up, come back down and then break apart.

“My grandson and the dog were in the basement,” Sigloh said. “I felt it was pretty close. I could see the rotation.”

Herman Landers, who lives at Kenaston, didn’t see the funnel, but said he has heard from others who have talked about it.

Landers said second-hand information indicated it was close, just to the west of Kenaston.

 The funnel cloud was seen by numerous people several miles south of the Greg and Lea Ankenbauer farm where a funnel was spotted and photographed five days earlier on Solstice Sunday.

A severe thunderstorm warning for Ward County had been issued about a half hour before people in the Kenmare area began seeing the funnel develop.

Numerous travelers pulled into the Cenex parking lot in Kenmare to watch the twister, as well as employees. Softball games at the Kenmare Complex were called off because of the potential danger of the storm that produced brief periods of heavy rain and sharp lightning strikes.

“I left work at 5 o’clock and the clouds looked funny,” Elaine Bauer said. “I saw it as I went home.”

Bauer said she was concerned as she was driving toward a funnel cloud with a long, narrow spout, that appeared to be dropping. She quickly realized the storm was south and west of her farm.

“I watched it drop down and go back up,” Bauer said.

The funnel, which is defined as a cloud of condensed water droplets, associated with a rotating column of wind and extending from the base of a cloud but not reaching the ground or a water surface, didn’t touch down, but it’s difficult to determine how close it got to the ground.

April Cooper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said numerous funnels were reported Thursday, including one called in by law enforcement in Minot just after 3 p.m.

However, the National Weather Service didn’t issue any tornado warnings because apparently, the funnels were part of a weak system that weren’t conducive to the funnels touching down.

The National Weather Service received several reports of funnel clouds on Thursday afternoon, including a couple in Mountrail County, however, none were spotted on radar, thus no warnings were issued.

Cooper said it’s not unusual for two funnel clouds to be spotted just a few miles apart within a week of each other.

“Since the conductive season started, we’ve had numerous reports in that area,” Cooper said. “The atmospheric setup can create that phenomenon.” ...  Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!