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July 4, 2021 Tornado Outbreak
Night5.jpg
The Gary, South Dakota Tornado.
Type: Unknown
Active: July 4, 2021
Duration of tornado outbreak1: 5 hours
Maximum rated tornado2: EF4 tornado
Highest winds 180 mph (394 km/h)
(Gary, South Dakota)

Tornadoes confirmed: 12
Damage: ~$500 Million
Injuries: 157
Fatalities: 15
Areas affected: Northern Great Plains Region United States

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The July 4, 2021 Tornado Outbreak was an outbreak of tornadoes that effected portions of South Dakota and Minnesota. Over the course of the outbreak, 12 tornadoes would touchdown, including one EF4 that struck the town of Gary, South Dakota.

The outbreak was one of the most destructive in South Dakota history, with over $500 Million dollars in damages being done. 15 people would be killed in the outbreak, with 14 of those deaths being attributed to the Gary tornado, and 1 of those deaths being caused by the long-tracked Lake Cochrane EF2.

The July 4th outbreak was also notable for the time it struck. A majority of people in the area were celebrating the fourth of July when the tornadoes struck. The City of Gary had just ended their fireworks show when the EF4 tornado that would decimate the city struck. Many of the tornadoes casualties were people who were returning home from the show when the tornado struck.

Numerous media outlets would deem the outbreak as the "Fireworks Tornado Outbreak" due to it occurring on July Fourth when a large amount of fireworks shows were being held.


Synopsis

A moderately intense low pressure system would advance through the upper midwest along a cold front as warm, moist air would be ushered northwards from the Gulf of Mexico via a pressure stationed over the western Atlantic. Shear would be minimal in most places, however, and morning convection would prove to be a limiting factor. However, a narrow corridor of rather favorable conditions would setup in and around Deuel County, South Dakota, where localized levels of high shear, high CAPE, and plentiful amounts of lift and moisture would arise. The SPC would quickly identify this corridor, and would issue a localized Moderate risk of severe weather driven by 15% SIG tornado chances and 45% SIG hail parameters. As the day would advance, several supercells embedded within a QLCS would move through this corridor, and take advantage of the favorable conditions in place, producing several tornadoes; some of which would prove to be intense and even violent.

Tornadoes

Confirmed Tornadoes

June 17

Confirmed tornadoes by Enhanced Fujita Rating

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
EF0
Confirmed
EF1
Confirmed
EF2
Confirmed
EF3
Confirmed
EF4
Confirmed
EF5
12 0 2 3 2 1 0



EF# Location County/ Parish state Time (UTC) Path length (mi) Max width (yd) Summary
238 6.2 520 A tornado of low SE of Castlewood Hamlin, Deuel SD 1201-1207 1.27 142 A brief tornado did low end EF1 damage to a power pole along I-29 before abruptly lifting.
bgcolor="#ffffcc" euel SD 1213-1216 1 Bemis Deuel SD 1213-1216 1.6 109 A low end EF1 tornado impacted the small hamlet of Bemis. The tornado's rather irregular motion (It first began to move east north east, before shifting south east, and then east) saved a majority of Bemis from a direct hit. 1 injury was reported, although it was determined to be rather minor.
Storm}}" | 142 A brief EF0 tor SW Clear Lake Deuel SD 1214-1217 1.2 142 A brief EF0 tornado was documented by storm chasers southwest of Clear Lake. The tornado remained over open fields for the entirety of its life.
bgcolor="#ffc140" nado of low end EF3 in N of Altamont to E of Lake Ali Deuel SD 1227-1238 6.2 520 A tornado of low end EF3 intensity impacted farmsteads around Lake Alice before quickly dissipating north Lone Tree Lake. injuries were documented.
ted.
bgcolor="#{{storm colo E of Clear Lake to E of Gary Deuel, Yellow Medicine, Lac Qui Parle SD, MN 1229-1248 10.2 740 See Section on this Tornado
bgcolor="#ffe775" W of Lake Cochrane to SE of Gary Deuel, Yellow Medicine SD, MN 1234-1249 7.5 500 See Section on this Tornado
bgcolor="#ffffcc" NE of Lake Alice to SD/MN Stateline Deuel, Lac Qui Parle SD, MN 1246-1254 3 710 5 fatalities - A fairly short lasting yet wide and fairly intense tornado developed over the vast farm fields of northern Deuel County, before striking the Dixie Fireworks Shop along US 221 as EF1 strength. At the time, a large fireworks show was being held at the Dixie Fireworks Shop. 5 spectators would be killed when the tornado unexpectedly struck the area. 17 others were injured. The tornado briefly crossed into Minnesota before lifting.
bgcolor="#ffe775" NE of Gary Yellow Medecine MN 1252-1257 2.2 300 A fairly brief tornado stayed over farm land for its entire life. The EF2 rating was garnered due to damage to a wooden power pole.

| bgcolor="#{{storm colour|Storm}}" | EF0 | bgcolor="#{{storm colour|Storm}}" | EF0 | bgcolor="#{{storm colour|Storm}}" | EF0 | bgcolor="#{{storm colour|Cat2}}" | EF2 |}

Notable Tornadoes


Gary, North Dakota EF4

A rather potent supercell embedded within a line of cells that had already produced two tornadoes earlier, as well as hail up to the size of softballs, would begin to rapidly strengthen as it enters an environment favorable for Tornado genesis. After a wall cloud would be reported by law enforcement in Clear Lake, the supercell would manage to drop a tornado northeast of town. This tornado would quickly intensify as it moved into the Mud Lake State Public Shooting area, although it would thankfully stay over predominantly rural areas. After exiting the Mud Lake State Public Shooting Area, the tornado would strike two farmsteads at EF2 strength. The tornado would then go

Damage Anderson County, Kansas

Damage to an outbuilding on a heavily damaged farmstead struck by the tornado.

several miles before striking another farmstead, severely damaging crops and prairie lands. This next farmstead would suffer low end EF3 damage, with the main farmhouse on the property having its entire roof torn off. The main farm house on the aforementioned farmstead also lost several exterior walls, and all outbuildings on the proper would suffer substantial damage. Another farmstead along 179th Street would be the next to suffer a hit, with that farmstead suffering low end EF3 damage. At this point, the several reports of the large, wedge tornado approaching Gary would begin to flood into the NWS, resulting in them issuing a TORE for the town of Gary, becoming the first TORE in SD history. The tornado would then proceed to plow into Gary at peak

Ashby-Dalton, MN EF4 damage

EF4 damage to a structure in Gary.

strength, producing widespread EF4 and EF3 damage throughout the town. 6 people would be killed in Gary alone, and over a dozen would be injured. Several structures would be completely flattened, with nothing but their foundations remaining. The historic Herrick Barn as wekk as the town's only two hotels would be destroyed, as well as a majority of downtown Gary, including the town Post Office. The tornado would narrowly miss a large mobile home park on the north side of town, before crossing into Minnesota. One structure right across the border would be the only building in Minnesota to suffer damage from the tornado, with this aforementioned structure suffering damage equivalent to that of mid EF3. The twister would then rapidly weaken as it began to move through the rural farmlands of extreme western Minnesota, before lifting along a small country road. The tornado would become one of the most destructive in South Dakota state history, and would not soon be forgotten by those effected by it.

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