National Weather Service – Topeka, KS
A total of 16 tornadoes occurred in Topeka’s County Warning Area this year. Of those, only 4 occurred during the typical convective season. The remaining 12 developed with a potent storm system that moved across Kansas on November 27th. There were many other severe weather events throughout the year that produced large hail, damaging wind, and flooding.
The first tornado of the season was a brief, weak tornado that touched down in Nemaha County on April 21as a large supercell moved eastward across southeast Nemaha and northern Jackson counties. The remaining 3 tornadoes occurred in June. On the afternoon of the 4th, a large, picturesque F2 tornado struck Brown County south of Hiawatha. Considerable property damage occurred to three farmsteads. A hubcap from a salvage yard became airborne and was embedded in the living room wall of a nearby home. An F1 tornado occurred on June 4 in Pottawatomie County. There were many reports of property damage in the small community of Lake Elbo, east of Manhattan. The fourth tornado (F0) of the season occurred late in the afternoon of the 8th in Jefferson County. It passed over open country producing only minor property damage. This tornado was broadcast live as a helicopter from a Kansas City television station flew around Jefferson County.
Strong straight line winds of at least 75 mph, derailed 24 empty train boxcars and blew a semi-truck off Interstate 35 in Osage County on May 18. Extensive damage occurred at a farmstead near the railroad tracks. Hail the size of baseballs was reported in Marshall County on the evening of June 4. Severe thunderstorms on July 3 caused widespread wind and hail damage along and south of Interstate 70. Winds gusted up to 75 mph with some of the storms. The governor declared a state disaster due to the storm damage in Douglas, Osage and Shawnee Counties.
Heavy rain kept Meteorologists busy this year beginning in mid May with flooding in rural areas of Shawnee County and the Neosho River basin in Lyon County. On June 3, a man in Dickinson County was killed when he exited his stranded truck and was swept away by fast moving water. Heavy rains in May and June brought the Herrington Reservoir to all time high levels. June 30th was one of the busiest severe weather days of the year, as areas along and south of Interstate 70 saw several rounds of hail and strong winds, along with flash flooding. On September 23, flooding occurred over parts of Shawnee, Jefferson and Wabaunsee counties. Water up to six feet deep northwest of Topeka floated cars and many occupants had to be rescued by emergency personnel. The 5.61 inches of rain recorded on the 23rd at the NWS office in Topeka set an all time one day record for rainfall. Thunderstorms produced up to a foot of rainfall over portions of Jackson, Jefferson, Shawnee and Douglas counties during the late evening of October 1st. There was significant flooding along Cross Creek and Soldier Creek as a result of the heavy rain. The city of Rossville was one of the hardest hit locations. Soldier Creek in Topeka reported a record high crest of 34.67 feet on October 2.
A strong low pressure system moved across Kansas on November 27th and produced 12 tornadoes that afternoon. One F0 tornado touched down in Dickinson County, three F0 tornadoes in Morris County and one F1 tornado that tracked into southwest Geary County, damaging and destroying several barns and outbuildings along its 20 mile long track. One F0 tornado in southeast Lyon County, two F0 tornadoes in Geary County and one F1 tornado that hit the cemetery at Fort Riley and moved across the Riley County line and damaged military base housing, and 3 additional F0 tornadoes in Riley County. Despite the unusual time of year, no injuries were reported.