After initially reporting that last week's waterspout was also Duluth's first tornado, the National Weather Service says it has found record of another Duluth tornado more than 50 years ago.
The waterspout on Thursday, Aug. 9, churned across Sky Harbor Airport in Duluth and Barker's Island in Superior. For the few seconds it was on land, the waterspout was classified as a weak tornado.
First checks with the Weather Service office in Duluth turned up no previous Twin Ports tornadoes. But meteorologists there kept digging through the records.
"After doing more research, it was discovered that there was a tornado in Duluth on May 26, 1958," meteorologist Carol Christenson wrote in a memo on Monday to Duluth weather reporters.
The Duluth News-Tribune
at the time called the 1958 storm a "miniature tornado" that collapsed a garage and damaged two Duluth-area lake cabins.
"A witness said the violent winds picked up the garage 'like a child's toy' and smashed it back to earth," the paper reported in the May 27, 1958, edition. "The small twister pulled off the doors of a garage owned by Irving West, 6611 Greene St. They bounced off the nearby Ing Stockland garage and landed about 30 to 40 yards away."
Greene Street is in West Duluth. The "wind storm" started about 4:35 p.m. and lasted about five minutes, the Stocklands told the News Tribune.
"Stockland, who lives at 6617 Greene, said the wind was pulling up rocks and mud. He and his wife were at the rear of theirhouse when the funnel, following the ravine along Highway 61, struck West's garage," the newspaper reported.
A city-regional track meet was going on at Public Schools Stadium about a mile to the east. Witnesses there reported seeing that the distant funnel "tossed out pieces of paper," but the track meet was not long disrupted.
"Team members and spectators dashed for cover while the hail fell," according to the News-Tribune report. "Ditches were dug to drain the track and allow the meet to resume."
Christenson pointed out that the News-Tribune
also reported on a possible twister on July 11, 1935, but that one was never confirmed.
"Swirling into the city on the wings of a torrential rain, a miniature tornado struck in the heart of the Gary-New Duluth district shortly before 8 a.m. yesterday, flattening a row of coal sheds (and) a frame garage and causing general damage to trees in the vicinity," the News-Tribune
reported on July 12, 1935. "The United States weather bureau had no means of officially recording the twister, the high wind having limited itself to the Gary-New Duluth district."
Source: Associated Press