F1 Tornado Strikes from Excelsior Springs to Lawson November 27th

 

An usual severe weather event struck eastern Kansas and western Missouri Sunday afternoon and evening. Numerous  reports of damaging winds, large hail, and even a tornado were received by the National Weather Service.

Preliminary damage reports as of Sunday evening 11/27/2005.  Click image to enlarge.
Preliminary damage reports as of Sunday evening 11/27/2005.
Click image to enlarge.

NOAA National Weather Service staff conducted a ground damage survey from Excelsior Springs to Lawson, to determine damage type and intensity of the event which brought wind damage to the Excelsior Springs area late Sunday afternoon. The results of this survey indicate that a low-end F1 tornado struck in this area. This tornado is the first tornado to strike in the six-county metropolitan region this late in the season in just over 30 years.
 
Damage along H Highway near Pratherville. Click image to enlarge. Damage at the Magna Plant in Excelsior Springs. Click image to enlarge. Damage at the Magna Plant in Excelsior Springs Click. image to enlarge.
Damage Photographs. Click images to enlarge.


The tornado touched down around 5:43 pm, approximately 2 miles southwest of Excelsior Springs along H Highway near the town of Pratherville. F0 damage was noted to a farmstead along H Highway, where pine trees were snapped near the base and other tree damage was noted.

A damage path approximately 50 yards wide was noted from this location to the west side of Excelsior Springs, where the most significant damage was observed. The Magna manufacturing plant just east of Wal-Mart sustained significant damage to its entire south wall.

At this location, low-end F1 damage was observed as much of the damage to the plant was a result of the south wall collapsing, which then led to a partial roof collapse in this area. Wind speeds were estimated between 73 mph and 85 mph.

From the Magna plant, the tornado continued on towards the north-northeast, hitting the west side of Excelsior Springs. Damage was noted to the Chuck Anderson Ford car dealership, where the plate glass windows blew into the showroom floor. Other than the glass breakage, little more than façade damage was noted to the dealership, and minor roof damage was noted to a couple of apartment buildings just west of the dealership on Highway 10.

The remainder of the tornado’s path was characterized by F0 damage, mainly to trees as the storm moved north-northeast out of Excelsior Springs. The tornado missed the High School/Middle School complex by about a quarter mile, although intense winds likely with a rear flank downdraft did damage the sign in front of the High School. The damage path then crossed US-69 highway approximately 3 miles south-southwest of Lawson. Within Lawson, damage was noted to homes along 184th Street just east of US-69. One of these homes that sustained damage to its south side was under repair from a previous fire. The damage path then extended north of Lawson into Ray County, where barn and tree damage was noted along Raum Road north of town.

The tornado had an intermittent damage path approximately 13.2 miles long, with a maximum width of 75 to 100 yards wide noted just south of the Magna plant near the railroad crossing. Most of the tornado’s track was less than 50 yards wide.


Putting this tornado into perspective for a late season event:
It was the first November tornado touchdown recorded in the six-county metropolitan area in 30 years.

The last November tornado touchdown on record occurred on November 17, 1958, when an F2 tornado was noted in Leavenworth County.

The Excelsior Springs tornado is the second latest tornado ever recorded within the metropolitan region. The latest tornado touchdown ever recorded in a season within the metropolitan area occurred on December 5, 1975, when an F1 tornado was recorded in Platte County.


Looking at the Excelsior Springs/Lawson storm from a radar perspective:
Doppler radar imagery (1) shows the storm beginning to rapidly intensify in the Liberty area around 5:35 pm:
Reflectivity image from 5:35 pm. Note the storm developing in the Liberty area. Click image to enlarge.
1
Radar images around 5:41 pm.  A tornado warning was issued for northeast Clay County, northwest Ray County and southeast Clinton County around this time. Click image to enlarge
2
Radar images around 5:41 pm.  A tornado warning was issued for northeast Clay County, northwest Ray County and southeast Clinton County around this time. Click image to enlarge
3
Radar imagery from 5:46 pm.  Note the stronger rotational signature developing over the west side of Excelsior Springs. Click image to enlarge
4
Radar imagery from 5:46 pm.  Note the stronger rotational signature developing over the west side of Excelsior Springs. Click image to enlarge
5

By 5:41 pm, the storm had rapidly taken on rotation, and became a supercell. These images (reflectivity (2) and Doppler storm relative velocities (3)) were taken approximately two minutes before the tornado touched down south of Excelsior Springs.

As the storm raced northeast, it intensified in strength and in rotation. These images (4 and 5) were taken at 5:46 pm, about the time that damage reports were noted on the west side of Excelsior Springs.

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