Jul 28, 2015

90 to 100 mile an hour winds, not a tornado, caused Monday damage in Bighorn Mountains

It wasn't a tornado, but it was a powerful storm that toppled numerous trees and destroyed a couple RVs in the Bighorn Mountains late Monday afternoon.

"It turns out that the damage was from straight line winds (est. 90-100mph) and not a tornado," the National Weather Service's Riverton Office posted on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. The Weather Service said that area of the Bighorn Mountains "is notorious for straight line wind damage," but added that the damage was some of the worst that a surveyor had ever seen there.

One of the campers obliterated by the storm. Photo courtesy National Weather Service
Sustained winds of 74 miles an hour or more are considered be of hurricane strength, expected to result in "considerable and widespread damage to structures."

When staff from the National Weather Service surveyed the site on Tuesday they found downed trees, two destroyed RVs and two damaged RVs.

Monday's storm claimed both recreational vehicles and trees in the Bighorn National Forest. Photo courtesy National Weather Service

The are is located in the Bighorn National Forest, near the Big Horn County/Sheridan County line. The Weather Service compiled this map of the damage:

Initial reports indicated that three other camping vehicles were damaged, but Weather Service representatives didn't see them in their Tuesday visit to the site.

Many areas of Wyoming were hit by strong winds late Monday afternoon while a cold front passed through the region. No injuries were reported.

More photos of the damage are available at the National Weather Service's Facebook page. A video of some of the leveled trees is below.


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