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When a very rare clockwise spinning tornado touched down in South Dakota

Tuesday, June 15th 2021, 7:36 am - On this day in weather history, an anticyclonic tornado touched down in South Dakota.

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features stories about people, communities, and events and how weather impacted them.


On Saturday, June 15, 2019, an EF-0 tornado hit just northeast of Estelline, South Dakota. On average, South Dakota gets 36 tornadoes each year. So the state isn't known for their twisters, but this specific one is particularly rare.

The tornado touched down at 6:05 p.m. and lasted under a minute. It took down seven trees in its path. The tornado wind speed peaked at around 120 km/h.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was a very rare "anticyclonic" tornado, meaning it was rotating in a clockwise direction.

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In the Northern Hemisphere, approximately 99 per cent of tornadoes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. So anticyclonic tornadoes are very rare. The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere.

Screenshot from Facebook video by Sean and Kathy Lesnar/Facebook. South Dakota Tornado Courtesy of Sean and Kathy Lesnar

Most anticyclonic tornadoes are smaller and weaker than cyclonic twisters.

On June 15, the tornado split from its parent storm. The thunderstorm was heading southeast, and the twister took off and headed east. These types of storms are called "left moving" because they move to the left of their parent storm.

To learn more about this anticyclonic tornado, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Facebook/Sean and Kathy Lesnar

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