A Line of Severe Thunderstorms Rips Across South Central and Southeast Kansas (7/10/2003)

By: Paul Howerton

Wichita NWS office issued 30 warnings and received 69 reports of severe weather across our warning area on July 9th.

Severe thunderstorms first developed north of Salina after 4 pm. The first severe weather reported in the Wichita warning area was 4 miles northeast of New Cambria at 520 PM, when penny sized hail occurred. Storms continued to develop southwest along the slowly advancing cold front. The storms over Rice county produced 1 to 1.5 inch hail around Lyons and Sterling.

The storms further intensified in the more plentiful moisture across Reno and Kingman counties. Baseball sized hail was reported west and southwest of Hutchinson around 7 PM. Softball sized hail was reported 5 miles southwest of Attica, in Harper County around 840 PM.

The combination of strong updrafts under developing storms and wind shear along the outflow of the thunderstorms, resulted in several "landspout" tornadoes. The first was reported in extreme southern Rice county, near the Reno county border. The multiple boundaries over Reno, Kingman, Sedwick and Harper counties, resulted in numerous reports of brief landspouts. See image 1 for one of these northwest of Viola. These were all relatively short lived and weak, and as a result no reports of damage have been attributed to any of the tornadoes.

The severe weather shifted from hail to wind as the storms moved south and east of Wichita. Straight line winds from a downburst occurred near the Wichita Greyhound Park north of Wichita around 8 PM. Portions of the roof were peeled off the building (see image 2), which damaged numerous vehicles in the parking lot. Power lines were also blown down in the area (see image 3).

Significant wind damage also occurred around El Dorado around 8 PM. Trees and power lines were blown down (see image 4 and image 5), and shingles were blown off Pizza Hut. Another long swath of wind damage started near Douglass, continued through Atlanta and on into southeast Kansas. Doppler radar clearly showed the high winds near Atlanta. See image 6 for the doppler velocity and additional information.

A hangar was blown over at the airport in Eureka, and considerable tree damage was observed around Independence. Reports of 50-80 mph winds were common with the line of thunderstorms to the east of the turnpike.

This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.

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