F1 tornado confirmed in Sutton

SUTTON – The National Weather Service in Hastings has confirmed a F1 tornado moved through the town of Sutton Saturday morning, shortly before 7 a.m.

The weather service says the estimated peak wind was 110 mph, with the tornado having a length of 1.6 miles. The width of the tornado was determined to be 260 yards.

The weather service says further the tornado “developed within a long-lived line of thunderstorms, moving from the northwest to the southeast, across Sutton. The first visible damage occurred as the tornado developed just on the northwestern edge of Sutton. Tree damage was the most obvious damage in this area, with several large branches snapped. Some small outbuildings were also overturned and damaged, along with minor damage to homes.

“The most dramatic damage occurred in the downtown area, where a steel roof was peeled off a downtown building and lofted about one block to the south,” the weather service said in a news release over the weekend. “There was also damage to brickwork on buildings, presumably as this roof was dragged across the top of adjacent buildings. This is where the peak wind speeds of 110 mph were estimated.

“The tornado then continued southeastward, snapping several trees on the southeast half of Sutton. An old garage was also swept off its foundation in this area and was blown into a nearby home and garage, causing significant damage to those buildings.

“Finally, the tornado passed onto the golf course on the southeast edge of town. Here, the tornado severely damaged a maintenance shed and snapped several healthy trees. From here, the tornado passed into a cornfield, producing a small path of damage. The tornado appears to have lifted less than ½-mile southeast of Sutton. An overturned pivot was also observed about 1 ½ miles southeast of Sutton, but this was likely damaged by strengthening straight-line winds in this area.”

The weather service said the damaged occurred in just a 3-minute timespan. It was also noted this is a very unusual time of day for tornadoes in Nebraska. According to a 2021 study, only six tornadoes have ever been observed between 6 and 7 a.m.

There were no injuries during the Sutton tornado.

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