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We ended up core punching a tornado warned cell near Salem, SD. Saw widespread damage from microbursts or brief
touchdowns. I'm unsure what the cause was. However we did see a couple
funnel/tornado-like features in the rain-wrapped meso. Most of the chase we
had blinding rain and hail so visibility was almost always less than 1/4
mile. Many times no farther than the end of the vehicle.|
Salem, SD was rocked. Numerous trees were down. I don't recall seeing a single road in town that wasn't blocked by debris. Sheet metal wrapped around a telephone pole, bail of hay on the edge of the road, power lines down, acres of corn flattened. Some of the trees were easily 1-2 feet in diameter. There was also some overturned farm equipment on a damaged farm.
I'm not sure what caused it all, but my best guess is a series of microbursts. Damage was spotty, but frequent. If it were brief touchdowns they would have to have been everywhere. The corn rows were flattened in a unidirectional manner, although I definitely did see a couple rain-wrapped funnels in the wrapped meso, so there may have been a brief touchdown in the mix.