Late in the day on Tuesday May 24, 2011, tornadoes moved across Stafford and Rush counties. The two most significant tornadoes of the day occurred northeast of Seward in Stafford county and near Timken in Rush county. Tragically, the tornado in Stafford county claimed the lives of a mother and her teenage son who had sought refuge behind trees as the tornado approached. The woman's 21 year old daughter who had been in the backseat of the vehicle that they were in survived but sustained critical injuries. The tornado moved north/northwest and caused EF2 damage with approximately 120 MPH winds. Unfortunately, the tornado uprooted a very large tree and the tree subsequently fell on the vehicle that had been sitting in the driveway near Highway 281. The house, just to the east of the vehicle, was severely damaged. Other damage was done to another home nearby, and also to trees, oil tanks, pivot sprinklers and to out buildings.
Looking west at the south side of the home that was heavily damaged by the tornado near US Highway 281.
Portions of the large cottonwood tree that fell on the vehicle.
The root ball of the tree.
The tornado in Rush county developed very rapidly and became very large (approximately 3/4 of a mile wide) quickly. Minor damage was done to a home in the vicinity of where the tornado developed and then it ended up doing EF1 damage to trees and outbuildings as it traveled north and then finally northeast as it dissipated.
Meteorologist Jonathan Finch from the National Weather Service in Dodge City provided this image shortly after the tornado developed into a wedge.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist