By: Jim Caruso
Scattered severe thunderstorms developed across southeastern Kansas during the late afternoon and evening hours on Tuesday.
The severe thunderstorms developed in an extremely unstable atmosphere, ahead of a slow-moving cold front (Image 1). In addition to the extreme instability in place across southeastern Kansas, an 85 knot upper level jet streak was nosing into Kansas and Oklahoma from the southern Rockies (Image 2). This jet streak helped to create wind shear aloft along with an upper level diffluent wind pattern across southeastern Kansas. This aided in severe weather development, in conjunction with the cold front, and allowed for organized supercell thunderstorms. The end result was numerous severe thunderstorms including several heavy precipitation supercells across southeastern Kansas late Tuesday afternoon and evening. Over 40 reports of severe weather occurred in a six and a half hour period (Image 3). There were several reports of golfball to baseball size hail, with even one report of softballs in Humboldt in Allen County. A brief tornado touchdown was reported 2 miles north of Longton in Elk County. Another possible brief tornado touchdown occurred in Thayer in Neosho County. No damage was reported with the tornadoes. However, there were several reports of severe wind gusts with minor damage. The hardest hit counties for severe winds were Chautauqua, Montgomery, Elk, Labette, and Neosho. It is quite possible that the very large hail reports caused some damage, although no reports of damage have yet been received at the National Weather Service in Wichita. For this severe weather event, the National Weather Service in Wichita issued 23 warnings including 16 severe thunderstorm warnings, 4 tornado warnings, and 3 flood warnings.