National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A thunderstorm rapidly developed near Merna, Wyoming, on the afternoon of Sunday, September 4, 2016. The storm strengthened and moved north across several private ranches and spawned a funnel cloud. The funnel eventually touched down as a tornado and caused areas of considerable tree damage just below The Rim, between Merna and Hoback Ranches. Large, old growth aspen trees of 12 to 15 inches in diameter were snapped in half, and other trees were topped, twisted, and/or uprooted. Hail up to the size of ping pong balls also fell near The Rim during the height of the thunderstorm. The tornado was photographed by many people from various angles and locations. The time of the tornado was estimated by comparing the location of the damage with radar imagery.

Several photos of the tornado and funnel cloud can be found by visiting Thank you to everyone who assisted the NWS and Sublette County Emergency Management by contributing photos, maps, and other information.  A very special thank you to Terry Fieseler for his generous help during the damage survey.

If you have photos, please send them to the NWS at and include the time and location of where your photo was taken, and which direction you were looking.  Each piece of information is helpful in establishing if the tornado may have been on the ground before or after what is already known.

Sublette County Tornado as seen from north of Merna, Wyoming,
looking northeast around 12:50 pm MDT Sunday, September 4, 2016.
(Photo Courtesy of Randy Foster)
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