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May 27, 2012
The NWS Hastings coverage area is located within the orange outlined area, with the Interstate highways in red.
(Click Radar Loop To Enlarge)
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.
Some of the notable severe weather reports from this event:
|This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.|