Family spots, films gustnado near Exeter, Neb.

Published: May. 16, 2017 at 11:07 PM CDT
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When Jerry and Theresa Boeck spotted dust and debris circling about a quarter-mile from their home near Exeter, Neb., they feared the worst.

"We immediately thought about three years ago," Jerry Boeck told 10/11 News.

Three years ago, they lost part of their business to the 2014 Mother's Day tornadoes in southeast Nebraska. He was just moments from getting his family and customers into the storm shelter, but he didn't have to.

What the family saw was actually a gustnado. 10/11's Ken Siemek offers this explanation of a gustnado:

"A 'gustnado' is a ground-based swirling wind that can form on the leading edge of a severe thunderstorm. A gustnado is NOT a tornado. The difference: it spins upward from the ground and is NOT connected to the base of a cloud. Gustnadoes may extend anywhere from 30-to-300 feet above the surface. They develop when a downdraft from the parent thunderstorm hits the surface and spreads out. If there is enough instability, some rotation may develop due to the turning winds. Gustnadoes can last a few seconds or a few minutes, and may contain wind speeds of 60 to 80 miles-per-hour. They MAY cause damage equivalent to an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado."

"When we realized it wasn't a tornado, then it was kind of exciting," Jerry Boeck said.

Luckily, there was no damage.

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