Northwest Kansas Weather Summary – 2005

National Weather Service Goodland, KS

The 2005 severe weather season began in earnest during the month of April. On the 5th, heavy rainfall from thunderstorms produced in flash floods across Wichita, Sheridan and Norton counties in northwest Kansas. Fortunately no damage or injuries occurred. On the heels of this event, a strong low pressure system intensified on April 10th.  The result was blizzard conditions just west of the Kansas-Colorado border, and two tornadoes in Graham County, KS (south of Hill City). The F0 and F1 tornadoes touched down around 5 pm CDT.  A calving shed was damaged and 1500# hay bales were dislodged. Doppler radar displayed a NW-SE line of severe storms (yellow arrow denotes one of the tornadic storms).


May brought very active weather in NW Kansas, which is fairly typical when looking at the record books. There were 7 severe weather days, producing 67 severe events, including one weak tornado near McDonald in Rawlins County on the 28th. Winds were estimated at 90 mph in Cheyenne and Rawlins counties on the 24th, along with hail the size of golf balls.


June outpaced May in terms of severe reports. There were 12 severe weather days during the month, including baseball hail in Rawlins County (Atwood) on the 6th, and 75 mph winds in Wallace County (Sharon Springs) on the 15th. The most significant weather day of June, and indeed the entire year, occurred on June 9th when seven tornadoes touched down, including an F2 tornado just south of Hill City. This tornado damaged two homesteads, numerous outbuildings, dozens of power poles and resulted in widespread tree and vegetation damage. The photo (above-right) shows the large wall cloud and tornado south of Hill City, and is courtesy of Scott Blair, now employed at the Goodland National Weather Service office.


The months of July and August continued active in terms of the numbers of reports received from spotters and law enforcement, including an intense microburst which destroyed this large barn in Decatur County (photo at left). 


The last tornado of the year in NW Kansas, an F0, occurred on September 5th south of Sharon Springs over open fields. The last severe weather report of the season occurred on October 29th, as marginally severe hail fell in Gove county.

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