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Springs tornado strong, but not strongest that day

Although the tornado that devastated Wessington Springs on June 18 was strong, the National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday the tornado that destroyed a farmstead southwest of Alpena that same day was stronger.

Todd Heitkamp, warning coordinator meteorologist for NWS, declined to say what EF rating the tornado had, but said it was higher than the EF2 tornado that ripped through Wessington Springs. He plans to release the EF rating today.

He said at least 10 tornadoes were confirmed within Jerauld County on June 18. The one sighted north of Lane has been classified as a multiple vortex tornado.

"There were smaller tornadoes rotating around a common center," Heitkamp said. "As they got closer to the farm, it merged into one larger tornado. Then it moved northward before dissipating."

He added the tornado that went through Wessington Springs had a path of about 2.25 miles, and was on the ground for about seven to eight minutes.

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