20th Anniversary of the June 19th 1990 Inland Hurricane
June 19th 1990 Inland Hurricane
One of the most destructive
storms in South Central Kansas history swept through on June 19th 1990 and
would later be titled the “Inland Hurricane”.
intense storm developed near Pratt around 8:15pm on Tuesday June 19th 1990.
As the storm tracked east and slightly northeast it produced a large swath
of 65 to 120 mph straight line winds through parts of six counties. By 10
pm this intense line of storms had blown through Wichita leaving nearly
20,000 homes without power and by 10:15 pm this destructive storm was
taking aim on parts of Butler and Harvey counties. Below are some
facts surrounding this devastating straight-line wind event:
- This storm
caused over $80 million dollars damage. This was over 3 times the amount of
damage that resulted from the violent tornado touchdowns that occurred on
March 13th the day of the Hesston Tornado.
- About 60,000 KG&E
customers across six counties were without power, some for as long as
five to six days. At the time, the storm was the most damaging in 30
years for KG&E utility.
- Thirty three people were
injured; fortunately no one was killed.
- The peak recorded wind gust
was 116 mph, which reaches low-end category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson
hurricane wind intensity scale. On the enhanced Fujita Scale the 116mph
winds would be rated an EF2
- The storm knocked out power
to all the Wichita TV stations, and they were off the air for hours.
- All but one of the Wichita
Radio Stations, including the Wichita NOAA Weather Radio Station KEC-59,
was knocked off the air.
Damage in Wichita KS
Storm damage at Jabara
Storm Damage to KFDI tower near
Damage at Jabara
Storm Damage near
Damage at Jabara
Damage in Valley
Damage in Northern Sedgwick
Video courtesy KWCH
intiated near a stationary front in central Kansas where surface
temperatures at late afternoon were around 100 F, with dewpoints in the
mid-upper 50sF. Large instability was available; SPC/NSSFC noted
lifted indices of -6 to -11 when my forecaster friend and mentor Bob Johns,
now retired and a derecho expert, issued the thunderstorm watch just after
8 pm CDT. But with the large temperature/dewpoint spreads (on the
order of 40 F !), strong evaporative cooling below the high cloud bases as
rain began to fall probably helped generate some of the hurricane-like
winds that carried through with the bow echo. A small short wave at
500mb coming out of the flat trough over the great basin also helped
trigger the storm cluster, and a 25-35 knot low-level jet (850mb) just east
of the surface heat axis over south-central Kansas may have helped with
storm organization and intensity, as well.
This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.