By: Jim Caruso and Chris Jakub
A Powerful Storm system moved through eastern Kansas on Sunday, producing tornadoes, hail, strong winds, and snow.
Scattered thunderstorms began forming around Noon on Sunday in south central Kansas as partial sunshine allowed enough heating to destabilize the atmosphere. The severe thunderstorms developed ahead of a dryline in association with the strong low pressure system. The first mini-supercell thunderstorm formed over Marion County and moved north at 45 mph producing 3 separate tornadoes between 148 pm cst and 205 pm cst. No damage was reported with this series of tornadoes. About an hour later, another series of mini-supercells developed along the dryline in southeastern Kansas (see Image 1). Two of these supercells were responsible for at least 4 separate tornado touchdowns. In Montgomery County, a tornado was reported northeast of Cherryvale, however no damage occurred. In Neosho County, it was a different story. A supercell that came up out of northwestern Labette County spawned a tornado 2 miles south of Galesburg (image 2 and image 3). This tornado was brief with no apparent damage. A second tornado developed about 2 miles northeast of Erie and moved to the northeast, remaining on the ground for 6 miles (image 4). It had an estimated width of 80 yards and produced damage to homes and buildings 2 miles northeast of Erie. This tornado was rated F1 intensity by a National Weather Service Storm Damage Survey. In addition to the tornadoes, hail up to Golfball size was reported in Wilson County.Colder air wrapping in behind the storm system allowed rain to change to snow in central Kansas Sunday evening. 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation occurred roughly northwest of a Lyons to Salina line. Strong northwesterly winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts ranging from 45 to 56 mph occurred across central and south central Kansas Sunday night into Monday. The strong winds caused blowing snow across area roads in central Kansas where roads became snow-packed and icy, creating very hazardous travel. As of Monday afternoon, Interstate 70 was closed from Salina all the way to the Colorado border. Scattered snow showers occurred Monday across the entire area, but provided little more than a dusting, although visibilities were reduced to one-half mile at times in central Kansas. The following are images of damage about 2 miles northeast of Erie taken during the National Weather Service damage survey: Image 5, Image 6, Image 7, Image 8. Image 9 is a map of the tornado track of the F1 tornado that occurred just northeast of Erie.