Most recent image of tornadoes documented by NOAA Weather Service from June 17th.
It is not surprising to learn that the number of documented tornadoes is down from the original thirty-six reported as the event was underway. Storm chasers and spotters were well ahead of this big tornado day in Minnesota. I’m sure there were reports of the same tornado touching down just from different viewing locations.
This was not the case very early in my career. When I was in Indianapolis one of my first assignments was to document the tornado tracks in Indiana. Upon my arrival in the Circle City I had a stack of newspaper clippings several inches tall on my desk. All from stories written about March 1976 storms.
Using a manual type-writer and sifting through the numerous reports of citizens filed in the local papers I complied the historical information without the benefit of a ground survey. Many, like the majority of tornadoes today, were F0 or F1s.
On a Sunday in early June 1990 I was working at Indianapolis when a tornao outbreak exploded before our eyes. My best guess is that we had more than fifty reports of tornadoes in the state. By the time we had completed the field surveys, at least on the storms we were aware actually hapened, the number of tornadoes was reduced to about three dozen. Here’s the NWS story of the June 2-3, 1990 outbreak.
Finally, I’ll share just how far we come with communication and observations of weather. I recall one instance out of rural south central Indiana were I didn’t know a tornado had occurred until a weekly newsclipping showed up on my desk about the storm, which had produced damage several days previous.. No one was injured, but I’m sure there was a good yarn shared at the local cafe.