Several Short-Lived Tornadoes Sighted
Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 – Today’s weather forecast calls for everything from clear skies to heavy rain and possible tornadoes in the central United States, according to NOAA forecasters. High pressure is expected to dominate the center of the country, keeping the central Rockies and most of the West Coast under clear skies. Rain and thunderstorms will dominate the northern tier states, the Midwest and the southern Plains while severe weather is possible in the Texas Panhandle and in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
Severe weather visited south-central Kansas with a vengeance Wednesday, spawning tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds. The storms hit the southwest half of Wichita and also caused wind and hail damage in surrounding counties.
That system is currently making its way through the Midwest and should clear the region by late today. The bulk of heavy precipitation is expected to move into the northern Mid-Atlantic and New England to finish out the work week.
A large supercell dropped hailstones 3-6 inches in diameter across the southwest half of Wichita between 5:30 and 6:30 CDT Tuesday, most centered around NOAA’s Wichita weather forecast office. The 6-inch hail was reported about two miles south of the office; two employees found 4-inch hailstones at their homes while other employees found hailstones larger than 3 inches at the office on South Tyler Road.
The supercell made Wichita the center of severe weather reports received Wednesday by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Severe weather reports for the day included 10 tornadoes, 34 hail and 47 occasions of damaging winds. Nine of the tornado reports came from south-central Kansas in Sedgwick, Greenwood and Cowley counties. Witnesses included law enforcement officers, emergency managers, trained storm spotters and storm chasers. All reports were of small and short-lived tornadoes.
Several locations reported winds in the 60-70 mph range with the highest gust of 80 mph reported at Winfield in Cowley County, Kan. There were no injuries and no significant damage reported from the storms, although numerous trees and utility poles were blown down by the high winds.
The storms continued to drop heavy rain as they moved across Kansas and Missouri. There was a report of 6 inches of rain falling in 12 hours near Eskridge in Wabaunsee County in northeast Kansas. Heavy rain blanketed the eastern part of Kansas, moving into the southern half of Missouri and prompting Flood and Flash Flood Warnings into the Missouri Ozarks.
Heavy rain prompted forecasters at the Springfield, Mo., National Weather Service office to extend flood and flash flood warnings until mid-morning today in several areas including:
- Barton, Dade, Dallas, Jasper and Polk counties in southwest Missouri
- Cherokee, and Crawford counties in southeast Kansas
Forecasters advised motorists to use caution with all low water crossings and gave special emphasis to:
- Route H just north of Pleasant Hope
- North Main and Murphy Boulevard in Joplin
- Route C north of Buffalo at Lindley Creek
- Missouri Highway 32 east of Buffalo at Greasy Creek
- Route AA at Pomme de Terre east of Bolivar.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said the Central Plains would get a break from heavy rains for the next few days. Scattered rains in the center of the country through Saturday should be relatively light with totals of less than an inch. See quantitative precipitation forecasts from NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center at http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml
Storm Prediction Center forecasters identified two areas where severe weather could develop in the Plains today and one small area for Friday. For today, the Texas Panhandle and a bit of western Oklahoma are at Slight Risk of severe weather development as is an area in the Ohio Valley that includes parts of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. See the convective outlook graphic at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day1otlk.html
For Friday, there is a slight risk of severe weather development for southeast Nebraska, extreme northeast Kansas, the southwest fourth of Iowa and extreme northwest Missouri.
Although Red Flag Warnings are in effect today for much of southeastern Wyoming and the western Nebraska Panhandle, north-central Colorado residents are being allowed to return to their homes as firefighting agencies bring two major fires under control.
Officials declared the Four Mile Canyon Fire to be 100 percent contained and opened the fire area to residents at noon Wednesday. That fire destroyed 172 structures and burned nearly 6,200 acres.
Officials declared the Reservoir Road fire near Loveland to be 65 percent contained Wednesday and said it should be fully contained by Friday evening. That fire has burned 740 acres.
Additional information from local National Weather Service forecast staffs may be reached by selecting the desired area on the national map at http://weather.gov
Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Slattery (816) 268-3135
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