(Gillette, Wyo.) The National Weather Service out of Rapid City, after reviewing information provided by Campbell County Emergency Management and weather spotters in the area, have assessed the storms that swept across Campbell County on Sunday night and made the following determinations:
The event east of Gillette, now named the Freedom Hills Tornado, was a classification EF-1 tornado. It started approximately one mile east of Wyodak and traveled for approximately two miles. It reached winds of 98 miles per hour and was 365 yards wide.
An EF (Enhanced Fujita Scale) rating puts a tornado with winds between 85 and 110 miles per hour as a "1" or "weak" rating. Something like an EF-4 or EF-5, which we have never had in Campbell County, brings winds greater than 200 miles per hour.
"We saw damage consistent with winds up to 98 miles an hour," said NWS's Melissa Smith.
This classification is based on the preliminary information provided to NWS from CCEMA's Charlie Messenheimer and the Red Cross's Cindi Shank, who were on scene all day Monday. It was impossible to determine what exact kind of winds had caused the damage in the dark on Sunday night, according to Messenheimer, but a better look at the situation in the daylight has led to this public statement from the National Weather Service.