87
      Wednesday
      86 / 63
      Thursday
      85 / 61
      Friday
      85 / 62

      Tornado touches down in the U.P.

      It normally happens once a year, a tornado in the U.P.

      The National Weather Service surveyed the damage from last Friday's storm, and they determined that a tornado did touch down at the Rio Tinto mine site.

      "From the U.P. perspective, the fact that we had such a classic storm that's more likely to be seen in Oklahoma, it definitely did produce a tornado that appears to be on the ground at least a significant distance. That is relatively unusual since we only average one tornado a year in the U.P," said Meteorologist Matt Zika.

      The National Weather Service is estimating that the tornado had 90 MPH winds, damaging the fence surrounding the mine, scattering several ventilation tubes, and tearing down several trees.

      They think that it traveled at least a mile and was on the ground for several minutes, moving at 25 MPH.

      The tornado tore through at least a dozen jack pine, uprooting them right from the ground. Rio Tinto staff are still assessing the damage but plan on cleaning up the debris this week.

      "During the significant weather event, there were no injuries to our staff or contractors. Operations are continuing. The storm did not affect any operations on-site, and the damage has been superficial. No damage to equipment or buildings," said Rio Tinto Communications Advisor Dan Blondeau.

      The National Weather Service is still trying to figure out when the tornado originally touched down and where its lift points were.