By: Jim Caruso and Chris Jakub, NWS Wichita
A series of severe thunderstorms moved through southeastern Kansas Thursday evening, June 30th, 2005, producing tree, crop, and structural damage.
The atmosphere was extremely unstable during the late afternoon and evening hours across south central and southeastern Kansas. An initially non-severe thunderstorm traveled out of northern Butler County into southeastern Chase County between 430 pm and 530 pm cdt Wednesday, where it then encountered a pre-existing thunderstorm outflow boundary (Image 1). Once this outflow boundary was encountered, the storm underwent explosive intensification and evolved into a supercell thunderstorm. This supercell (Image 2) tracked across 7 counties in southeastern Kansas, before moving into southwestern Missouri, and lasted well in excess of 3 hours in duration. The long-tracked supercell produced a variety of severe weather ranging from golfball to baseball sized hail, at least two tornadoes, and severe wind gusts of 60 mph or greater. The very large hail caused substantial damage to corn crops in Neosho County.In the wake of this supercell thunderstorm, two separate severe thunderstorms formed into small, bowing line segments, known as bow echoes. The first bow echo (Image 3) ripped across a good portion of southeastern Kansas between 9 pm and 1030 pm cdt, producing widespread wind damage. The hardest hit county was Neosho County, where straight-line winds were estimated at just over 100 mph in a damage survey completed by the National Weather Service in Wichita (See below). A five to seven mile wide swath of extreme wind damage was reported in a path from Chanute to Erie, to St. Paul. The second bow echo storm (Image 4) swept through nearly the same area of southeastern Kansas between 1030 pm and midnight cdt. This storm likely produced additional wind damage, with estimated wind gusts of 70 mph.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS 246 PM CDT FRI JUL 1 2005 ...A SERIES OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WREAK HAVOC ACROSS NEOSHO COUNTY KANSAS... NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PERSONNEL FROM WICHITA HAVE COMPLETED A PRELIMINARY DAMAGE SURVEY FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS THAT OCCURRED DURING THE EVENING OF THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH. THREE SEPARATE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS MOVED ACROSS NEOSHO COUNTY, PRODUCING WIDESPREAD TREE, CROP AND STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. A MAJORITY OF THE DAMAGE WAS CAUSED BY EXTREME STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS, ESTIMATED TO RANGE FROM 70 TO 100 MPH. THE DAMAGE APPEARS TO BE MOST EXTENSIVE IN A WIDE SWATH STRETCHING FROM CHANUTE TO ERIE TO ST. PAUL. NUMEROUS LARGE TREES WERE UPROOTED, SOME THREE TO FOUR FEET IN DIAMETER. STRUCTURAL DAMAGE ALSO OCCURRED TO ROOFS OF SOME HOMES AND BUSINESSES. ADDITIONALLY, SEVERAL BARNS, SHEDS AND OUTBUILDINGS WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. FURTHERMORE, LARGE HAIL TO THE SIZE OF AT LEAST GOLF BALLS (MAINLY FROM THE FIRST STORM), ALONG WITH DAMAGING WINDS PRODUCED WIDESPREAD CROP DAMAGE. AMAZINGLY, THE THREE STORMS OCCURRED OVER A RELATIVELY SHORT, FOUR-HOUR TIME PERIOD, BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 730 PM AND 1130 PM. ONE PERSON WAS INJURED DURING THIS FOUR-HOUR ORDEAL. A MAN SUSTAINED INJURIES TO HIS LEGS WHEN THE HIGH WINDS TOPPLED A TREE ONTO HIS CABIN. UNFORTUNATELY, HE REMAINS HOSPITALIZED. STORM SPOTTERS AND EYEWITNESSES REPORTED SEVERAL BRIEF TORNADO TOUCHDOWNS ACROSS NORTHWEST AND SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF NEOSHO COUNTY, AS WELL AS OVER NORTHEAST LABETTE COUNTY. THESE TORNADOES WERE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FIRST SEVERE THUNDERSTORM. HOWEVER, NO TORNADIC DAMAGE COULD BE FOUND.