On Saturday, two destructive tornadoes ripped across the Wyoming foothills. There, with a front row view, was Mitch Falkenburg.
Mitch received a call from Scottsbluff, Nebraska where his grandmother got word of a tornado in Douglas, Wyoming via her weather radio. “We were just doing stuff around the house. We got to looking outside and there was a lot of motion in the clouds,” Mitch said.
Without hesitation, Mitch hopped on his dirt bike to check it out, “I rode down the driveway and that’s when the tornado was starting to form.” As the twister inched closer and closer to his house, Mitch took shelter. [Note: in any tornado warning, do not seek a view of the storm. Take shelter immediately.]
Inside, Mitch got an ominous view of airborne dirt and debris right in his backyard. That was his cue to head for the basement.
“The tornado lasted all about 30 seconds. You could hear things blowing round and round in the house,” Mitch said as he took shelter with his Mom, Dad, and dog. Fortunately, everyone made it out safe and sound. The house, however, was not so lucky.
“There is not a stich of glass left in anything. All the windows, all the doors,” Mitch said. The road to recovery is long one for Mitch and his family who suffered losses to their roof and deck.
“Both the office and master bedroom have no roof left to them,” Mitch noted. Along with his home, various structures on Mitch’s property sustained a sizeable amount of damage.
Earlier this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Cheyenne, Wyoming surveyed the damage to determine the size and strength of Saturday’s tornadoes. The NWS determined that two tornadoes, one an EF-1, the other an EF-3, hit the Douglas area.
According to NWS Riverton
, Wyoming is off to an above average year when it comes to tornado warnings. Year-to-date, the state has had 32 more tornado warnings compared to the previous 12-year average.
The climatological peak for severe weather in the area has passed but more storms with large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes are still a possible this year, particularly into the next few weeks.
Written by Dakota Smith