Damage survey teams from the National Weather Service have studied the aftermath of six tornadoes reported Sunday in Tribland and have assigned two an EF scale rating of 3 and one an EF-2 rating.
Three others remain under review, the NWS Hastings office said in a preliminary report distributed Tuesday evening.
The first tornado to be reported was timed as beginning and ending at 3:35 p.m. three miles southeast of Glenvil. The tornado, which was reported by more than one source, is being characterized as a brief touchdown.
The damage survey had not been completed as of Tuesday evening, so no EF scale rating nor estimated peak wind strength have been assigned to it.
“EF” stands for Enhanced Fujita Scale. It is used to assign a tornado a rating — EF-0 to EF-5 — based on estimated wind speeds and related damage.
The second tornado, an EF-3, ran from 3:56 p.m. to 4:27 p.m., beginning 2.6 miles southeast of Clay Center and extending 15.5 miles to a location in rural Fillmore County 4.8 miles north of Sutton. That storm had a path 1,300 yards wide, reaching three-quarters of a mile at the maximum point, and packed winds of up to 150 miles per hour.
The storm caused extensive damage in the Saronville and Sutton areas. In its preliminary report, NWS notes that damage in the town of Sutton and south and southwest of Sutton is considered to have been caused by straight-line wind from the rear flank downdraft of the supercell. Based on damage, the maximum winds were estimated to be 100 mph.
EF-3 storms are associated with wind speeds of 136-165 mph.
The third tornado under review ran from 4:25 p.m. and 4:41 p.m., following a 9.7-mile path from a point 2.6 miles northwest of Grafton to four miles north-northeast of Fairmont, with a path width of 750 yards and a peak wind of 120 mph. It is rated as an EF-2, meaning wind speeds of 111-135 mph.
Tornado No. 4 was timed as beginning at 4:40 p.m. a half-mile northwest of Fairmont and ending a minute later a half-mile north of town. No EF rating, path width or peak wind speed has been established pending further survey work.
NWS notes that this tornado was seen by several experienced meteorologists and was reported to be rotating anti-cyclonically, or the opposite direction most tornadoes rotate. The time was established based on radar imagery.
Tornado No. 5, the area’s second EF-3 for Sunday, began at 4:57 p.m. three miles north of Exeter and moved into southeastern York County and eventually to Cordova, which is across the line in Seward County.
Further information on the Cordova storm is yet to come because damage surveys by the Omaha/Valley office of NWS begin at the Seward County line.
A sixth tornado was reported by an experienced storm chaser about two miles south of Grafton. The time of the storm has been set at about 4:25 p.m. based on radar information.
Like the short-lived tornado north of Fairmont, the tornado south of Grafton was reported to rotate anti-cyclonically.
Survey teams from Hastings were expected to study the location today or Thursday to determine path length and width.
In addition, NWS teams from Hastings are trying to confirm tornado reports from the Glen Elder, Kan., area. No further information was available Tuesday evening.
The Weather Service thanks everyone who has provided information about Sunday’s storms.