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August 9 Waterspout Confirmed as First Tornado in Duluth and Superior


The waterspout that captured the attention of the Twin Ports on Thursday, August 9 proved to be a historic event for both Duluth and Superior.

According to the National Weather Service, a tornadic waterspout developed around 11 am roughly 2 miles offshore from Park Point as a part of a thunderstorm moving over the lake toward the Twin Ports. The waterspout made landfall as an EF-0 tornado on Park Point (Duluth), crossing the point and reaching Barker’s Island on the Superior shoreline before dissipating around 11:20 am.

Tornado Path – Yellow Line (Courtesy National Weather Service)


The NWS Report cites eyewitnesses who saw a couple of float plane pontoons briefly lifted and set back down (not moved) at Sky Harbor. No damage was reported from the tornado/waterspout.

This tornado is historical in nature for the Twin Ports, being the first recorded tornado ever to touch down in Duluth or Superior. Prior to August 9, no tornadoes had touched down in either city in the 150 years of weather records kept for the area.

An EF-0 tornado, like the one that made landfall on August 9th here in the Twin Ports has wind speeds between 65 and 85 miles per hour. This type of tornado generally causes little damage.

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