Damaging Tornadoes Slam Plains

By: Shaun Tanner , 6:50 AM GMT on April 15, 2012

Share this Blog
36
+

A devastating string of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes tracked through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska on Saturday. This severe weather outbreak was remarkable in its duration as supercell thunderstorms began to pop up in western Kansas late Saturday morning, and the dry line that was supposed to represent the end of the severe weather threat was only halfway through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas by 1:00 AM Central Time Sunday. The moisture difference on either side of this dry line was remarkable as well, with dew points in the upper 60's to the east, and a very dry 20's to the west.


SPC Storm Reports from Saturday

The SPC storm reports show the track of these storms, with Kansas being the hardest hit. Early in the afternoon, most of the supercell thunderstorms were consistently producing weak tornadoes that skipped across western and central Kansas. As the low-level jet stream kicked in late in the afternoon and into the evening, the thunderstorms strengthened considerably. Probably the most remarkable supercell thunderstorm began in western Oklahoma near Woodward as a stunning multi-vortex tornado. The tornado actually was several tornadoes that danced into southern Kansas and eventually threatened Wichita. The tornado passed just south and east of the city, producing an 84 mph wind gust at the Wichita Airport. It also did extensive damage at the airport. In addition, the Oaklawn area of Wichita was declared a disaster area very soon after the tornado passed. The Sedgwick County commissioner declared the county a disaster area. This wedge tornado eventually moved along the Kansas Turnpike northeast of Wichita before finally dissipating.


Figure 1. Double tornadoes in Oklahoma close to the Kansas border. Image credit: news9.com


Figure 2. This tornado sparked a fire in Oklahoma as it passed through the area northeast of Woodward. Image credit: news9.com

The deadliest tornado of the outbreak struck Woodward, OK early Sunday morning, as the main squall line moved through western Oklahoma. This tornado was very large and particularly dangerous since it occurred at night when most residents assumed the threat had ended. There were multiple reports of not hearing the city's siren, so it is entirely possible that the siren was either struck by lightning or hit by the tornado itself. At least five deaths have been confirmed in the Woodward area from this tornado. Probably the scariest video of a tornado I have ever seen was taken of this Woodward tornado as it moved into town. Note you can see the scale of the tornado as between power flashes.


Video 1. Storm chaser video of one of Saturday's impressive tornadoes near Salina, Kansas.


Figure 3. Radar reflectivity image of the tornado that hit the south side of Wichita, Kansas, causing damage at the Wichita airport.

Perhaps the most telling feature of this severe weather outbreak was its repetitive nature. Salina, KS was tornado warned three times by three separate severe thunderstorms. Similarly, areas from Medicine Lodge to Kingman, Kansas were warned for two separate thunderstorms, while Woodward itself was warned very early in the day before a different tornado moved through the city late in the night.

Last night's storms have weakened, but a new round of severe weather is expected Sunday afternoon over portions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put the region under their second highest level of alert, a "Moderate Risk."

Shaun Tanner

Thunderstorm Wind Damage (dhennem)
Straight line winds from a thunderstorm this evening blew several semi tractor/trailers over on Interstate 29 in Fremont county, Iowa.
Thunderstorm Wind Damage
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle (Randy7628)
Freak Hail Storm Texas Panhandle
Night tornado (Andrewbre)
Night tornado in Manchester,OK
Night tornado
Clouds II (amo1379)
Clouds II

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 194 - 144

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Quoting Tazmanian:
why did the sirens go off
They got knocked out by earlier storms. Sounds like some worked,others didn't.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting Zappy:


They didn't didn't go off. Probably because of a lightning strike or power outage.


Shouldn't the emergency siren be also powered by a back up generator?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Always have a NOAA Weather Alert Radio to notify one of Severe Weather.

A small investment that can save you and others in a Weather Emergency.




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
191. Zappy
Quoting Tazmanian:
why did the sirens go off


They didn't didn't go off. Probably because of a lightning strike or power outage.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
too bad there where no trains a round at the time they could have ues there horns has a siren
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
why did the sirens go off
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
187. Zappy
Two children are among the dead in Woodward, OK (MSNBC)

Sad... If only the sirens sounded...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From the Public Weather Outlook:

STRONG WINDS NEAR THE
SURFACE AND ALOFT WILL SUPPORT FAST-MOVING SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS
THAT WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES...SOME POTENTIALLY
STRONG...AS WELL AS DAMAGING WINDS AND LARGE HAIL.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting BahaHurican:
I'd b so afraid 2 live in a trailer home in Tornado Alley.


I think I'd rather just build a concrete block garage with a basement and very heavy trap door. The terror of a tornado bearing down on you must be wicked. In those last few moments the victims must have thought of all the other places they wish they were.

Is it getting ready to start again?
Sure nuf, tornado watch issued at 1:03 EST LinkWestern Arkansas/Ft. Smith, AR Radar

Statement as of 12:03 PM CDT on April 15, 2012

Tornado Watch 177 remains in effect until 600 PM CDT for the following locations
AR
. Arkansas counties included are

Baxter Boone Carroll
Conway Crawford Franklin
Fulton Garland Izard
Johnson Logan Madison
Marion Montgomery Newton
Perry Polk Pope
Scott Searcy Sebastian
stone Van Buren Yell

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
Could be. The line has not moved much and will grow throughout the day. Some one posted last night that a place called Hudson was wiped off the map. I have not seen any reports on this. Anyone else remember seeing that one?
I probably screwed Hudson up.  I was watching that KSN live feed last night.  They showed the velocity radar with the a strong couplet traveling directly through Hudson.  They also had spotters confirmed a large wedge tornado was on the ground hear Hudson too.    When I commented on that Hudson was gone.  I figured it was.  The TV reporters where commenting the same thing.  I  haven't heard any concrete yet with storm reports.  I am scrolling through them now.
So far I haven't seen anything posted on damage relating to Hudson KS.  
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Do you know if those were mobile homes or well-constructed buildings?
Woodward is likely 2 b mobile homes.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting IceCoast:


Weird, the source i got them from is still good, here are the direct links.

Link
Link

Do you know if those were mobile homes or well-constructed buildings?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting BenBIogger:
April 15, 2012



April 9, 2011 (Had it saved in my image file)

water warm enough to brew up a tropical something if this was a few moths later?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42050
Quoting BahaHurican:
On the Woodward sirens, it seems a power outage might have taken them out. Maybe a solar-powered battery backup for sirens could b considered?



Or maybe less dependence on fallible sirens that can be hard to hear inside buildings, cars, or in the middle of a thunderous storm with howling wind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
8 to 10 DAY 500MB MEAN


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
It's been taken down apparently, can't access it


Weird, the source i got them from is still good, here are the direct links.

Link
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
On the Woodward sirens, it seems a power outage might have taken them out. Maybe a solar-powered battery backup for sirens could b considered?

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting RitaEvac:
Can see blood on that car door on the inside



door is also bent forward from the hinge... not a good sign there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's been taken down apparently, can't access it
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
Quoting RitaEvac:
Can see blood on that car door on the inside

Luckily the image never showed up but please never post images of blood/gore. Some people may not want to see it. If you could just post a link. I have no problem with it but just in case I don't want you to get chewed out by someone who is offended by the image.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Can see blood on that car door on the inside

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
When is the next EURO-SIP monthly forecast update?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The line in OK/AR could produce a couple tornadoes if it remains all broken up and storms are able to transition into supercells. But the main event for tornadoes will still be later tonight as storms develop in Northern Iowa Southern Minnesota and move eastward.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado probability remains at 15% hatched.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Nice blog, Barefoot....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
SE Texas and SW Louisiana should get some heavy, heavy rainfall tonight through tomorrow. Could be a flooding problem if the front stalls out as some models are indicating.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
from one of our people:


"The sun rises over the town of Woodward, where the sirens failed to activate last night, as a tornado ripped through here at 60mph. Team Rubicon and Portlight are inbound to assist with SAR."



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Looks like it may have been an equipment failure problem. properly working sirens may have helped.
Hi Baha,
Some doubt as to sirens' status. Posted some links in my blog and an opinion if you're interested. Too long to post here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
I'd b so afraid 2 live in a trailer home in Tornado Alley.


Oh yea. I would not do it. Even if that meant I had to move
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Map of all reports, warnings, and watches yesterday.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'd b so afraid 2 live in a trailer home in Tornado Alley.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting StephenDe: Greetings from Norman,OK.

Your story's got a lotta holes in it.

The quick and simple answer to your question: The storms fired off into NW OK.

None fired into SW OK and N TX. Could have. All the proper ingredients for storm food and drink were there and that's where they track to central OK from. You and your friends might count your blessings. That is, if you truly live in central Oklahoma.
...
Click image for text.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IceCoast:


Yes lots of damage. We were tracking this cell late last night right before I went to bed and we were getting some major damage reports then. I was hoping to wake up to some better news.

This a a photo from hideaway trailer park where the casualties took place.


Cheyenne Drive





ouch looks like EF 4 too EF5 damg there
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting ScottLincoln:


EF2/3s are strong tornadoes.
EF4/5s are violent tornadoes.

Sorry, I meant intense.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting Tazmanian:



any damg report? from the town??


Yes lots of damage. We were tracking this cell late last night right before I went to bed and we were getting some major damage reports then. I was hoping to wake up to some better news.

This photo from hideaway trailer park where the casualties took place.


Cheyenne Drive

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


The final was clocked at 120.

It's still rising.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting BahaHurican:


Just realized thrse r on google also, so u can zoom 2 the location....


The final was clocked at 120.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There were 65 confirmed tornadoes on March 2 consisting of 11 violent tornadoes (9 EF3s and 2 EF4s).


EF2/3s are strong tornadoes.
EF4/5s are violent tornadoes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTSplayer:


The squal line took over mostly, but apparently not before spitting out one more 1/4 mile wide tornado that hit part of Woodward.

After all the close calls there from the 3 big super cells to the left and right of Woodward, they sort of got blind-sided by a pop-up tornado immediately after midnight.

All 5 of the known deaths occurred in Woodward so far, from what was probably not even in the days top 5 most powerful storms...

It's really sad.
Looks like it may have been an equipment failure problem. properly working sirens may have helped.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
thankfully the name irene is being retired another recovery project by phish http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/videonetwork/15 62583024001?odyssey=mod|tvideo2|article
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Thurman, Iowa tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF2. It was a half-mile wide tornado.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
April 15, 2012



April 9, 2011 (Had it saved in my image file)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:


URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 177
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1055 AM CDT SUN APR 15 2012

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

NORTHERN AND WESTERN ARKANSAS
SOUTHERN MISSOURI
EXTREME EASTERN OKLAHOMA

EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY MORNING AND EVENING FROM 1055 AM UNTIL 600
PM CDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 60 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 55 MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF
POTEAU OKLAHOMA TO 15 MILES NORTHEAST OF VICHY MISSOURI. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE
UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU7).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...THIS TORNADO WATCH REPLACES SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 176. WATCH NUMBER 176 WILL NOT BE IN
EFFECT AFTER 1055 AM CDT.

DISCUSSION...A BAND OF THUNDERSTORMS HAS BEEN PROGRESSING SLOWLY EWD
AS CELLS MOVE MORE RAPIDLY NEWD WITHIN THE BAND. SATELLITE IMAGERY
INDICATES AREAS OF THINNING CLOUDS AHEAD OF THE CONVECTION WHICH
WILL PERMIT REGIONS OF ENHANCED HEATING/DESTABILIZATION TO OCCUR
THIS AFTERNOON. LATEST WIND PROFILER AND VAD DATA EXHIBIT VERY
STRONG WINDS /50 KT OR GREATER IN THE 1-2 KM AGL LAYER/ AND
INCREASING WINDS ALOFT...RESULTING IN VERY STRONG SHEAR/SRH THAT
WILL PROMOTE EMBEDDED SUPERCELLS AND OCCASIONAL SMALL SCALE BOW
ECHOES TO DEVELOP. THE THREAT FOR DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND TORNADOES
IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE THIS AFTERNOON.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 22035.


...WEISS
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32807
Quoting 47n91w:


Lakes Superior/Michigan will protect me,


Oh my god, that is so prevalent up here on the north shore of Superior. More so since my parents are Barrie tornado survivors which died out when it went over Kempenfelt Bay. Because of this the dozens of times in 2006 that we were under a tornado warning I felt completely safe and my father who felt invincible for walking into a tornadic supercell when he was younger was catching footage of funnel clouds outside.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 194 - 144

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
27 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron