May 27, 2012: Large Hail and Damaging Winds Affect Portions of the Area

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May 27, 2012

Large Hail, Damaging Winds,
 Several
Gustnadoes


To the right is a National Weather Service Radar loop, valid from mid afternoon on Sunday, May 27th through late evening on Sunday, May 27th.

The NWS Hastings coverage area is located within the orange outlined area, with the Interstate highways in red.

(Click Radar Loop To Enlarge)

Event Summary:

A stout upper level disturbance moving out of the Rocky Mountains and onto the Central Plains during the afternoon and early evening hours on Sunday, May 27th, 2012, brought strong to severe thunderstorms to parts of the NWS Hastings coverage area.  Warmer temperatures in the mid levels of the atmosphere kept thunderstorms from developing through the mid afternoon hours, before activity started along an accompanying surface cold front which draped across the middle of the Hastings coverage area.  With sufficient instability and shear present, most thunderstorms had little trouble quickly becoming severe. The majority of severe thunderstorms were concentrated east of a line from Greeley-Kearney-Phillipsburg KS, with many places west of this line essentially missing out on storms entirely.

Along with large hail and strong winds, there were numerous reports of blowing dust gustnadoes through the event.

Gustnadoes are formed by very different processes than tornadoes. The differences between gustnadoes and "true" tornadoes are not often clear cut, as both involve rotating columns of air, but one of the primary differences is that gustnadoes are NOT connected to a parent rotating cloud base above. Here is a brief definition of both:

TORNADO: A violently rotating column of air, usually a pendant (attached) to a cumulonimbus cloud, with the circulation reaching the ground. In supercell thunderstorms, tornadoes are often associated with deep rotation in the updraft area of the storm, often on the south or southwest side of an east or northeast-moving storm.

GUSTNADO: A typically small whirlwind which forms as an eddy in thunderstorm outflows. They do not connect with any cloud-base rotation. Like dust devils, some stronger gustnadoes can cause damage. Often, gustnadoes are observed miles out ahead of the parent storm and associated precipitation.

Despite these "technical" and sometimes unclear differences, strong gustnadoes sometimes do cause damage similar to tornadoes, and this was likely the case across parts of the area during the afternoon and evening of May 27th. However, the vast majority of wind damage was likely from very strong straight line winds.


Assorted Pictures from Damaging Storms May 27, 2012

Home just west of Casey's in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Just south of Ethanol plant in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Home in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Midtown Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt.
Home just west of Casey's in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Just south of Ethanol plant in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Home in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Midtown Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt.

Overturned pivots just jouth of Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Tree in Highway Park Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. South end of East Street in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Large pipes strewn south of town near Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt.
Overturned pivots just jouth of Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Tree in Highway Park Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. South end of East Street in Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt. Large pipes strewn south of town near Wood River. Photo by Georgene Smidt.

 

Some of the notable severe weather reports from this event:

  • Homes near Glade, KS (Phillips County) and southwest of Primrose (Greeley County) suffered broken windows.
  • Wind damage and flooding was reported near and in Wood River.  Numerous irrigation pivots were overturned along an approximately 6 mile long path near 140th Road to near the Interstate south of Wood River. In Wood River, large trees suffered damage, and power poles were knocked down.  South of town near the intersection of 140th and Holling Roads, water was reported over the road and the intersection was impassable.
  • A 66 mph wind gust was reported in Phillipsburg, KS (Phillips).
  • Baseball size hail (2.75") was reported in Kirwin, KS (Phillips).
  • Hen egg size hail (2.0") was reported near Athol, KS (Smith) and in Riverton.
  • Golf ball size hail (1.75") was reported near Stockton, KS (Rooks), Glade, KS (Phillips), Utica (York), Greeley (Greeley) and Spalding (Greeley). There were also reports in Speed, KS (Phillips) and Geneva (Fillmore).
  • Ping pong ball size hail (1.5") was reported near Osceola (Polk) and Woodston, KS (Rooks) as well as in Inavale (Webster) and Kensington, KS (Smith).
  • Numerous reports of penny to quarter size hail across the area.

 

Storm Reports and Rainfall Map from May 27, 2012

24 Hour Rainfall ending at 7 am CDT May 28, 2012.

May 27, 2012 storm reports.
Click image for detailed reports
.

24 Hour Rainfall ending at
7 am May 28, 2012.

Notable Rainfall Totals from Storms May 27, 2012

Location

Measured Rainfall

5 SSE Palmer, NE

2.90"

7 N Osceola, NE

2.88"

1 ESE York, NE

2.83"

5 WSW Wood River, NE

2.67"

1 E York, NE

2.65"

7 SE Stromsburg, NE

2.64"

2 WNW Gresham, NE

2.55"

5 SSE Upland, NE

2.24"

Harlan County Dam, NE

2.22"

6 ENE Hastings, NE

2.15"

Hastings Municipal Airport, NE

1.75"

NWS Hastings Office, NE

1.61"

Phillipsburg, KS

1.20"

Grand Island Regional Airport, NE

0.65"

 

 

 

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



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