South Dakota Tornado Tracks: A Visual History

South Dakota has a history of tornadoes. The following images show the tracks of tornadoes in the state from 1950 to 2006. The images show the tornado tracks by Fujita scale (or F scale). For a detailed explanation of the scale, check out the Tornado Project.



South Dakota F0 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

Definite concentrations in the Big Sioux, James and Vermillion watershed areas. Longer tracks are much more common in the wide open areas, but appear evenly distributed throughout the state compared with the shorter tracks.


South Dakota F1 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

Still heavily concentrated in the east and southeast. Longer tracks are a greater percentage of the numbers overall.


South Dakota F2 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

Longer tracks now at parity with shorter ones. Still concentrated in the southeast.


South Dakota F3 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

Shorter tracks might haveĀ  slight advantage in numbers. That one in the northeast must have been remarkable, given the length and the strength of it.


South Dakota F4 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

Six. For the first time, it is easy to count the number of tornadoes at a given level. Nothing at all in the western part of the state.


South Dakota F5 Tornado Tracks 1950-2006

We’ve only had one F5 in the period from 1950 to 2006. It was in Gregory, South Dakota in 1965. Thankfully, no one was killed by this one, but the damage was remarkable to behold.


No. We’ve not had any of those–nor has any state, to my knowledge. The destruction caused by this level of tornado would be mindblowingly awful.

Full tornado track maps of the US may be found at, from which the above images were extracted.

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