Oct. 7-8, 2011 Severe Weather Summary...and Heavy Rainfall Oct 7-9 Including Maps

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*See top part of story for the details on severe thunderstorms on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, and refer to bottom part of story for a summary of heavy rainfall totals falling mainly during the 3-day time frame from Oct. 7-9  (includes GIS rainfall maps)

Oct. 7-8, 2011

Severe Weather Event

Localized Corridors of Damaging Wind, Large Hail and Very Heavy Rainfall

To the right is a National Weather Service Radar loop with overlayed storm reports, from 2:00 pm CDT Oct. 7th to 1:30 am CDT, Oct. 8th.

The NWS Hastings coverage area is located within the orange outlined area labeled "GID", with the Interstates in red.

(Click Radar Loop To Enlarge)


 Severe Weather Summary:

Following at least 2.5 weeks of bone-dry weather across all of South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas, an expansive, slow-moving upper level low pressure system took aim on the Central Plains during a 3-day period centered from Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. While locally heavy rain over the course of several days ended up being the main story across mainly western sections of the area (see Heavy Rainfall section below), there was one distinct episode of strong to severe thunderstorms that targeted mainly a narrow corridor across northern and western sections of South Central Nebraska on Friday the 7th into the post-midnight hours on Saturday the 8th. These storms resulted in several reports of damaging wind gusts and hail to the size of quarters. Although a few storms exhibited some rotation, no tornadoes occurred. Given that this activity took place on a fall Friday night, several area high school football games were affected.

The strong to severe storms lasted for several hours, first flaring up around 3 PM, and finally diminishing in intensity for good around 1230 AM. These storms kept regenerating within a rather narrow corridor only about 30 miles wide at most, primarily impacting counties including Furnas, Harlan, Phelps, Buffalo, Sherman, Howard, Hall and northwest Adams. The storms were concentrated within a narrow corridor primarily due to the fact that they were aligned along a southwest-northeast oriented surface front, with winds aloft also blowing from southwest to northeast, steering activity along the same general track. 

Here are a few "highlights" of the severe weather event, based on PRELIMINARY reports from storm spotters, local law enforcement, emergency management, and the public:

  • Two separate storms produced severe-criteria wind gusts at the Holdrege Airport, one at 745 PM (58 MPH) and the other at 1215 AM (63 MPH)  
  • Brief nickel to quarter size hail 2 miles southwest of Prosser in Adams County around 325 PM  
  • Report of significant roof damage to a grain storage building on the south side of Atlanta in Phelps County around 440 PM
  • Measured 59 MPH gust at Kearney Regional Airport at 543 PM

For an interactive webpage with PRELIMINARY storm reports, please click the linked image below: 

 Oct. 7-8, 2011 Storm Reports.
Click image to go to a reports page. On that page, click report icons for details.

 Locally Heavy Rainfall and High Multi-Day Totals:

As described above in the severe weather section, the most significant impact from this slow-moving low pressure system ended up being hefty, multiple-day rainfall totals into the 2-7 inch range across much of the northwest half of South Central Nebraska, along with parts of mainly Phillips County in North Central Kansas. Even south and east of the primary zone of rain, many locations picked up at least 0.50 to 1 inch of rain. However, far southeast portions of the NWS Hastings coverage area really missed out, with places such as Hebron and Superior only mustering around 
0.25-inch. For locations that received the highest multi-day amounts of 4-7 inches, the majority of this rain fell during the multiple rounds of strong to severe storms on the afternoon and evening of Friday the 7th. However, parts of the area received at least 1-2 inches of rain in other precipitation events as well, one focused during the pre-dawn hours on Friday the 7th, and a more widespread, general round of rainfall on Sunday the 9th.

Despite putting a temporary halt to the fall harvest, this was much-needed rainfall, as the entire area had gone at least 2.5 weeks with NO rain, and the preceding month of September had featured well-below average rainfall. Fortunately, due to the dry conditions leading up to this event, widespread flooding impacts were held to a minimum. 

Below are two rainfall tables...the first one focusing on a number of storm total, multi-day amounts measured between 7 AM on Oct. 6th, and 7 AM Oct. 10th, and the second one focusing solely on rainfall received during the multiple rounds of strong to severe storms centered from the afternoon of Friday the 7th through the early morning of Saturday the 8th. It is readily apparent that a narrow corridor from near Oxford to Loomis tallied some of the heaviest rain of all. (Reports are from NWS Cooperative Observers, Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) observers, CoCoRaHS observers and automated airport sites)

A Few of the Highest 96-HOUR "Storm Total" Rainfall Amounts Ending Around 
7 AM, Mon. Oct. 10th


Loomis (NeRAIN) 7.13

6 NNW Oxford


Oxford (NeRAIN) 6.83
6 SE Bertrand (NeRAIN) 6.49
Ravenna 5.98
Beaver City 5.84
2 WNW Kearney (NeRAIN) 5.58
4.5 SSE Hildreth (NeRAIN) 5.46
2 NW Rockville (NeRAIN) 5.20





Kearney Airport


7.5 S Litchfield (NeRAIN) 4.26
Minden 3.93
6 SSE Lexington (Canaday Steam Plant) 3.69



Various Other Locations Within The Area
St. Paul 3.09
Greeley 2.71

Ord Airport (automated)




Phillipsburg KS airport (automated) 2.25
Smith Center KS 2.13
2 SW Alton KS 1.45
Grand Island Airport (automated) 1.43

Hastings Airport (automated)


Hastings NWS Office


Burr Oak KS 0.98
Osceola 0.89
Beloit KS 0.65

3 N York


Fairmont 0.39
4 E Superior 0.28



Some of the Highest 24-HOUR Rainfall Totals Ending Around 7 AM, Sat. Oct. 8th


Rainfall Total

6 NNW Oxford


Loomis (NeRAIN) 5.33
12.5 N Funk (NeRAIN) 5.26

Beaver City


5 WNW Kearney (NeRAIN) 4.14
5 SW Ravenna (NeRAIN) 4.07
Edison 3.73



2 NW Rockville (NeRAIN) 3.45
2 WSW Elm Creek (NeRAIN) 3.00


Corresponding to the tables above, featured below are a series of GIS maps reflecting rainfall totals from this event. The top row of three maps reflects 24-hour rainfall totals ending around 7 AM on on Oct. 8th, 9th, and 10th, capturing the majority of multi-day rainfall amounts. These maps focus solely on the NWS Hastings 30-County Warning Area, with reports courtesy of NWS Cooperative Observers, Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) observers, CoCoRaHS observers and automated airport sites.  

Click Rainfall Maps To Enlarge


24-hour rainfall ending around 7AM, Oct. 8th 24-hour rainfall ending around 7 AM, Oct. 9th 24-hour rainfall ending around 7AM, Oct.10th



This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.

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