Monthly Archives: May 2012

Moderate risk for severe weather in central Kansas

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a moderate risk of severe weather for much of central Kansas today, and Wichita is included in the slight risk area.

The tornado threat has diminished for most of Kansas from earlier projections, though large hail remains a possibility for those areas where storms develop and move.

Russell tornado rated an EF2

The National Weather Service has rated the brief tornado that struck southern Russell south of I-70 Friday night as an EF2, which means it had winds of up to 135 miles an hour. One person was injured by the tornado.

Tornado striking south Russell. Photo by Jill Seguin, courtesy of the National Weather Service

Here’s a map of the tornado’s track. It touched down at about 9:45 a.m. and was only on the ground for about 800 feet, though at one point it was as much as a quarter-mile wide.

Another tornado touched down south of the small town of Gorham, which is about 8 miles west of Russell and just north of I-70. Fortunately, it stayed out in open country.

Serpentine tornado near Gorham on May 25. Photo by Haden Frank, courtesy of the National Weather Service

Several other brief tornadoes were reported in the area, weather officials say.

More photos of the La Crosse tornado

These images of the tornadoes that struck Rush County Friday night were shot by storm chaser Jim Reed shorly before 10 p.m. Friday. He believes this is the wedge tornado, which weather officials say passed northwest of La Crosse

Reed told me to take note of the group of trees in the photographs. That’s La Crosse, he said.

La Crosse tornado was a satellite tornado for a wedge twister, weather officials say

The tornado that hit La Crosse shortly before 10 p.m. Friday was a small satellite tornado for a large wedge tornado that was passing just northwest of the Rush County town, the National Weather Service reported.

The smaller tornado was only on the ground for less than two miles, according to a damage survey conducted by the Dodge City branch of the weather service. But it touched down just west of town and moved east through the city before curling a bit to the northwest. It was rated an EF1, with winds of up to 110 miles an hour.

Tracks for the tornadoes that struck Rush County Friday night. National Weather Service map

The larger tornado was on the ground for about 10 miles and was as much as a half-mile wide as it passed less than two miles northwest of La Crosse. It was rated an EF2, with winds of up to 135 miles an hour.

Tornadoes strike La Crosse and Russell

Numerous tornadoes – some of them massive wedges – pounded north-central Kansas Friday night, injuring at least one person.

Russell and La Crosse both sustained damage from tornadoes, and a woman in Russell was hurt.

“We’re just trying to assess the damage,” La Crosse Chief of Police Jason Reece said.

The damage is largely confined to an area along 5th Street in the southern third of the city, Reece said. It’s the only street in the town of 1,342 that has a stop light. La Crosse, the Rush County seat, is about 25 miles south of Hays and I-70.

No injuries have been reported in town yet, Reece said. The town has been shut down to through traffic.

A large tornado approaches La Crosse Friday night. Photo by Jim Reed

Businesses along 5th Street are “a total loss,” he said, and two or three mobile homes have also been destroyed.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has logged 30 reports of tornadoes in Kansas, many of them in Rush County. But others were reported in the neighboring counties of Ellis, Ness and Russell.

In Russell, a woman suffered minor injuries. Russell County Emergency Management told KSN-TV that one house was destroyed and a few others were damaged.

La Crosse resident Mary Urban tried to get to the hospital where she works but was turned back by both law enforcement officials and the storm damage.

“It’s crazy,” Urban said of the damage. “The car wash is gone. The old lumber yard, it got messed up.”

A grocery store also sustained damage, she said.

There were so many reports of tornadoes near La Crosse over the course of the evening, she said, “it felt like we were surrounded.”

Two minutes after the above photo was taken, power flashes light up the sky as a tornado strikes La Crosse, Kan., Friday night. Photo by Jim Reed

Urban lives five blocks north of 5th Street, and she remembers hearing a noisy rumble for a few minutes even from the shelter of the basement.

“It just got really loud,” she said. “That must have been the tornado.”

Her mother died on this date more than half a century ago, she said, and she graduated from high school on the same date 10 years later.

Now she’ll remember May 25 for something else.

Wichita weather: Mostly cloudy and warm

It’ll be windy, cloudy and warm in the Wichita area today, forecasters say.

Highs should reach the upper 80s under mostly cloudy skies. Winds will be in the teens out of the east, then shift to the south and gain strength later in the day. Those south winds will be in the 20s and gust to more than 30 miles an hour.

Lows tonight will only drop to the low 70s under partly clear skies. South winds will remain strong, blowing steadily in the teens and gusting to more than 30 miles an hour.

Saturday will be mostly sunny, forecasters say, with highs in the low 90s. It’ll remain windy, with gusts topping 30 miles an hour.

Chances for rain arrive Sunday and Monday in the Wichita area, forecasters say.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Wichita weather: Decreasing clouds, decreasing wind

A cloudy morning in the Wichita area won’t bring needed rain to the region, forecasters say.

Instead, skies will gradually clear as the temperature climbs to the mid-80s. But winds will be markedly lower than they were on a blustery Wednesday, forecasters say, with south winds primarily in the teens. Gusts will occasionally approach 30 miles an hour.

Clouds will increase in coverage again tonight, as lows bottom out in the upper 60s. Southeast winds will persist in the teens and gust to about 30 miles an hour.

Friday will be partly sunny and breezy, with highs near 90 and south winds in the teens and gusting into the upper 20s.

Memorial Day weekend will see a chance of showers and thunderstorms Sunday and Monday, forecasters say, with highs in the mid- to upper 80s and low 90s.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Wichita weather: Hot and windy

Temperatures in the 90s and wind gusts surging above 40 miles an hour will combine to give Wednesday a broiling flavor in the Wichita area.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for 17 counties in central and southern Kansas from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., including the Wichita metropolitan area. South winds will be steady between 30 and 35 miles an hour, with gusts reaching 45.

Lows tonight will drop only into the upper 60s in the Wichita area, forecasters say, and winds will remain strong. The winds will be steady in the 20s and will gust above 40 miles an hour.

Thursday is expected to offer more sunshine and highs in the upper 80s, forecasters say. Winds will ease significantly, shifting from the south in the teens to the north in single digits.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Wichita weather: Warmer and windier

A gorgeous Monday makes way for a warmer and windier Tuesday in the Wichita area.

Highs will climb into the low to mid-80s, forecasters say, with south-southeast winds increasing from the single digits into the upper teens. Gusts will approach 30 miles an hour.

Winds will remain gusty overnight, when lows slip to the mid-60s under mostly clear skies. Wednesday will be much warmer, forecasters say, with temperatures jumping into the low 90s. South winds will be in the 20s, with winds approaching 40 miles an hour.

Overnight lows Wednesday may stay in the low 70s, with mostly clear skies and south winds gusting to more than 30 miles an hour.

Thursday will see more sunshine and more highs in the 90s, forecasters say.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Video of the tornado near Rago in Kingman County

Here’s video of one of tonight’s tornadoes, shot by Michael Fonfara while chasing with Cloud 9 Tours. It’s not a large tornado, but it’s compelling nonetheless. And as you can see from the video, it was strong enough to do some damage.