The Spencer SD Tornado of 30 May 1998

Damage to apartment building...


...as viewed from high airplane, looking NE:

Tornado moved from middle left to upper right. The apartment building (arrow) where the deaths occurred is in the S portion of the core of the most intense damage. Image courtesy Mike Foster, NWS Fort Worth.


...as viewed from low airplane, looking down (slightly to NNE):

Tornado moved from upper left to middle right. Apartment complex is at middle-lower right, with the intact first-floor front wall on the south (bottom) side. Since it was just south of the axis of the tornado path, most of the debris from it -- and adjacent structures at left -- was blown to the NE toward the center of the track, as the front right (SE) quadrant of the tornado vortex hit. Image courtesy Brian Smith, NWS Valley NE


...as viewed from atop Sioux Falls FD truck ladder, looking WNW:

View is toward direction of tornado approach. Front of apartment building is at lower left. West edge of town is 2 blocks away, at far rear. Image courtesy Steve Marks, Greensboro/Guilford County NC EMA


...looking NNE, ground level:

Second floor outer walls at front were cleanly removed off the partially underground first floor, with much debris falling down into lower-level apartments. The smoothness and lack of divots along the top of the wall indicates little or no substantial attachment (e.g., pins, bolts) existed between the first and second floors. The tree at right rear was shredded and broken by airborne debris, mostly from the apartment building. The body of a 93 year old woman who lived on the second floor was found under a vehicle N of the building; five of the six Spencer fatalities occurred among elderly and/or disabled people here. [The sixth was a 63 year old woman who lived several blocks away.]


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