Early Start to the 2011 Tornado Season (3/1/2011)

By: NWS Wichita

February 27th 2011 Severe Storms

An intense low pressure system moved out into the Southern Plains on Sunday February 27th. Persistent south winds ahead of this system were able to transport unseasonably rich gulf moisture into Oklahoma and parts of Southern Kansas. Storms first erupted during the early afternoon hours along the cold front which was located across South Central and Southeast Kansas. As the evening hours approached additional storms developed along the dryline over Western Oklahoma.  While one of the stronger supercells produced a brief tornado along the Kansas-Oklahoma border, the majority of the severe reports were from large hail.

The supercell thunderstorm that produced the brief tornado along the Kansas-Oklahoma border first developed over Northwest Oklahoma and remained a supercell thunderstorm until it was overtaken by a line of storms in far eastern Missouri.  This gives this lone supercell a track of over 500 miles and was intact for over 6 hours!

 The radar animation below shows this storm as it tracked along the Kansas-Oklahoma border before moving off into Western Missouri.

 

 


The Southern Cowley/Southern Chautauqua County Tornado

 


Supercell thunderstorm looking northeast from Highway 77 in Kay County Oklahoma. Picture taken by Jim Epperson.
Picture taken just south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border along Highway 77, looking northeast. Picture taken by Jim Epperson
Picture taken northeast of Newkirk Oklahoma by Brett Roberts.

Picture taken northeast of Newkirk Oklahoma by Brett Roberts.

Picture taken northeast of Newkirk Oklahoma by Brett Roberts.

 
Picture taken northeast of Newkirk Oklahoma by Spencer Basoco.

Picture taken northeast of Newkirk Oklahoma by Spencer Basoco.

Image from Wichita's radar at 623pm.  This is around the time the supercell produced a tornado near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. 

Image from Wichita's radar showing a well developed velocity couplet along the Kansas-Oklahoma border. This image was taken at 619 pm

Picture taken 5 miles west of Sedan around 640pm. Picture taken by David Sallee.

Picture taken 5 miles west of Sedan around 640pm. Picture taken by David Sallee.

Picture taken 5 miles west of Sedan around 640pm. Picture taken by David Sallee.

Picture taken 5 miles west of Sedan around 640pm. Picture taken by David Sallee.

 


Other images from this event

 

 
Large hail which fell over Caney Kansas. Picture taken by Pascal Van Schijndel.

 
One of the unique aspects of this storm system was the large amount of dust it was able to kick-up across west Texas.  The lighter shading across western Texas in this satellite animation is dust  which was the result of very strong westerly winds and dry conditions. The gusty winds and dry conditions also resulted in several large fires with allowed a large amount of smoke to mix with the dust.

 

 
This is a high resolution satellite image taken right at sunset. It clearly shows the large area of dust and smoke along with the supercell thunderstorm near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Click here to see this large image without labels.

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



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