Severe Weather in Acton Investigated - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Severe Weather in Acton Investigated

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ACTON -

Severe weather rolled through parts of South Central Montana Thursday causing some powerful thunderstorms in Yellowstone County, and some real damage in Acton. But after hours of investigating, National Weather Service Meteorologists have concluded that storm was not a tornado.

"We've been here for four years. We've had some debris, shingles flying, but nothing this intense, nothing ever actually got destroyed," says Richard Shepard, a Acton resident.

But that wasn't the case with Thursday night's Storm. With reported sighting of funnel clouds in Acton, National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Tom Frieders, investigated the aftermath to determine the severity of the storm.

Frieders says "we were able to determine it was straight line, what we call micro burst winds, enhanced winds of about 90 miles an hour. Those are just straight line winds and we noticed all the debris was blown basically from North to South," whereas a tornado would leave debris in multiple directions, which wasn't the case. "If it's severe thunderstorms producing straight line winds, typically all the damage will be blown in one direction."

Even still, with winds upwards of 90 MPH, the storm damaged nine mobile homes, ripped two roofs off their structure, and left several garages and one mobile home destroyed, according to NWS Billings.

Frieders says "with damage like that, you can really get a feel for it doesn't take a tornado to produce significant damage." Damage that has left some Acton residents now homeless.

"It still hasn't sunk in. I was home when it all happened, and it happened in the blink of an eye. I was actually looking out the window and next thing I know, the whole scenery changed," said Shepard.

"We're all safe thank god. It's kind of tough for us," says Tina Riley, a resident of Acton.

NWS Billings also says even though it wasn't a tornado, people should pay close attention to severe weather warnings because the damage from strong winds could be just as bad as a tornado.