Small tornado causes significant damage to garage near Humboldt

Published: Jul. 31, 2018 at 6:13 PM CDT
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Across Minnehaha County, many saw rare funnel clouds on Monday. Those clouds took social media by storm. But, for one unlucky homeowner, the weak tornado destroyed his garage.

Mike Deneui was helping his friend just a mile away from his home south of Humboldt when it happened.

"I looked up and said 'there's a funnel cloud,'" he said. "He said 'no there isn't.' I said 'look straight up there.' I watched halfway down, went back up, and then about two minutes later came back down, then back up."

Within minutes the EF-0 tornado caused significant damage to his livelihood.

Storms like this are rare this time of year and do produce brief, weak tornadoes. The outbreak caused a social media frenzy, where many called the tornado a "cold-air funnel cloud," which The National Weather Service said was incorrect.

"Just a lot of people calling these cold-air funnels, and they were not cold-air funnels," Todd Heitkamp, The National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge, said. "Anytime you hear thunder, there's a regular funnel. But, they are very rare, typically they occur in the spring or early summer. But, once in a while, we'll get them once a year in the tri-state area."

After seeing the damage done to Deneui's garage, it had many wondering why there wasn't a tornado warning issued. But, NWS says that since the tornadoes would touch down briefly, it would be difficult to issue.

"By the time that we issue a tornado warning and let's say for yesterday, even though we saw them right outside our window," Heitkamp said. "By the time we would issue at that point and time they would've been long gone before the public would have even heard it."

Unfortunately for Deneui, his garage was the target of this rare storm.

"This stuff can all be replaced," he said. "Along as no one got hurt. So, I am thankful for that I guess. The fun part starts with cleaning this stuff up."