Tornado smashes small Kansas town; major tornado outbreak today

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:30 PM GMT on May 05, 2007

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A terrible scene--played out all too often in 2007--happened again last night in Greensburg, Kansas. The sirens sounded, warning of an advancing tornado, but the black of night hid the 3/4-mile wide monster twister approaching from the southwest. The residents of this small town of 1600 had time to find safe shelter, but the tornado was so powerful, that even sturdy buildings could not protect the residents. The tornado destroyed or heavily damaged 90% of the town, destroying the central business district, city hall, and the high school. Eight people died, plus one more person 30 miles away. Damage surveys are not yet complete on the tornado, but photos I've seen of the destruction show damage consistent with EF4 winds(168-199 mph). It is possible the storm was an EF5 (winds more than 200 mph). The ten deaths yesterday bring the U.S. tornado death toll to 69 so far this year, three more than the toll for all of last year. For those interested, I've saved a 1 Mb animation of the radar reflectivity and Doppler velocities of the tornado (thanks to Wunderblogger redefined for saving these!) The animations show some very strong rotation and odd swirling behavior that I don't recall ever seeing in a tornado radar animation before.

Wunderblogger Mike Theiss was out chasing yesterday and caught some of the storms; be sure to tune into his blog over the next few days to read his chase accounts.


Figure 1. Radar image of the strom that spawned the Greensburg, KS tornado of May 4, 2007.

Major severe weather outbreak today expected
More strong (EF2 and EF3) or violent (EF4 and EF5) tornadoes are possible again tonight, and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has put a large area of Kansas and Nebraska under its highest risk level, "High Risk". This is the fourth time this year that SPC has issued its "High Risk" forecast. The last time it did so, on April 24, an EF3 tornado struck the Mexico/Texas border near Eagle Pass, killing ten (the "High Risk" area defined by SPC was actually a bit north of where the tornado struck). Tornadoes have already been reported in Colorado and Nebraska today, so tune into our severe weather page and radar page to follow the outbreak.

Coastal Carolina storm
The latest (8am EDT) computer forecast models continue to show a moderately strong coastal storm developing several hundred miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on Monday. The storm will be extratropical in nature when it forms. It will bring strong winds and high surf to the Carolina coast for several days early next week, as it meanders offshore. Water temperatures are 22-23 C off of the coast, which may be warm enough to allow the low to acquire some subtropical characteristics and become the season's first named storm. However, none of the models are showing this, and I put the odds of a Subtropical Storm Andrea forming next week at about 10%.

Jeff Masters

LP Supercell with Wallcloud (MikeTheiss)
Small "Left Split" LP Supercell with blocky wallcloud in Oklahoma. © Mike Theiss - All Rights Reserved
LP Supercell with Wallcloud
Lightning 5-4-07 (kshippychic)
Lightning 5-4-07

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138. Bamatracker
1:59 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
sorry SJ....didnt meant to.... :(
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
137. StormJunkie
1:56 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
All right BT, I don't promote the use of that word ☺ They are just interested people who need to learn what is actually realistic. I also think many folks figure there is no reason to check in before the season gets started...lol
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
136. Bamatracker
1:54 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
yea kind of slow in here though...would have thought we would have alot of wishcasters in here tonight with the carolina low.
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
135. stormhank
1:53 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
sure an active weather night
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134. Bamatracker
1:50 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
there ya go stormhank
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
133. stormhank
1:50 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
hows that LOL
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132. stormhank
1:49 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Model Page Link
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131. stormhank
1:46 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
I still think i did it wrong LOL to many words lol
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130. StormJunkie
1:44 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
You are getting there SH!


Correction

The area that says Link is where you should have typed the 84hr Nam. You put the web address in the right place though.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
129. melwerle
1:39 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
ok - what the heck was THAT sh?
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128. Bamatracker
1:39 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
the link works stormhank.
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
127. stormhank
1:38 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
LOL did it work SJ?
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125. StormJunkie
1:33 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
That's it BT, and Thanks ☺

And it is not going to let up anytime soon either JFla. Same events tomorrow in the same area.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
124. Bamatracker
1:33 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
It works SJ
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
122. Bamatracker
1:32 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
StormJunkie.com Quick Links
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
121. StormJunkie
1:25 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Naw, hank, it just has not been explained right yet. Once you get it, it's easy ☺

‹a href="http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/12/fp0_084.shtml" target="_blank"›84hr Nam‹/a›

This ‹ needs to be typed as this < in the above line. Do that and you get this...

84hr Nam
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
120. stormhank
1:23 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
I give up SJ lol I need it explained to me in more detail I guess or else Im just to dumb lol
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119. stormhank
1:23 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Intersting NAM model 18z 84 hr..http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/12/fp0_084.shtml
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118. StormJunkie
1:16 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Won't start coming out till around midnight BT. It will be the 00Z runs.

I hope it works out for all those who need some fires doused mel!

Hey hank, you should be able to type this in your comment box and post it and get a link. Don't copy and paste it though.

‹a href="http://www.stormjunkie.com/qcklnk.html" target="_blank"›StormJunkie.com Quick Links‹/a›
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
117. Bamatracker
1:08 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
how much longer till our next model runs come out?
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
116. melwerle
1:02 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Good to see you too SJ - just let whatever it is bring rain to us so we can get the fire under control. I'm tired of seeing smoke - being from Southern CA originally, and being in the fires a couple of years ago, I always freak when I see smoke. Never forget seeing it come down the mountain towards out house and saying "when it gets HERE", we'll leave. And then moving the mark a thousand times until we were told to get out. I would love for this fire to go away or be somewhat extinguished just to give us piece of mind!
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115. stormhank
1:03 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Hey SJ.. I tried what you said about link thingy but , I still cant get it to work LOL
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114. ryang
9:02 PM AST on May 05, 2007
Evening all...
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113. StormJunkie
12:59 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Evening mel, good to see you.

That would be crazy BT. Not even late May. Like you said though, it is highly unlikely. It would have to move just right over the Gulf Stream and stay in low enough shear IMHO.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
112. melwerle
12:57 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Hey Everyone - just checkin in to see what is going on before I check out for bed. Any more news on anything?
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111. Bamatracker
12:27 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
im kind of excited to see what develops off of carolina. This is blowin' my mind that we could (yes i know its only like 10%) have a named storm in early May
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
110. StormJunkie
12:24 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Yep BT...It is really rough out there.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
109. MZT
12:25 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Great video of a tornado yesterday from the posts above

May 4 Oklahoma Tornado
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 793
108. 1900hurricane
7:19 PM CDT on May 05, 2007
I'm just trying to corral everyone into one place!
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107. Bamatracker
12:17 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
good evening stormjunkie. I guess I never been on here before during a tornado outbreak...but this is nuts.

Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
106. StormJunkie
12:14 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Evening BT, good to see ya
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
105. 1900hurricane
7:13 PM CDT on May 05, 2007
We need some help with the warnings.
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104. Bamatracker
12:12 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
this weather is just crazy!!!
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 1367
103. 1900hurricane
7:12 PM CDT on May 05, 2007
Come to Taz's Blog!
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102. RL3AO
7:11 PM CDT on May 05, 2007
Just missed.

AT 702 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A POSSIBLE TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER CENTRAL
KIOWA COUNTY...OR 4 MILES EAST OF GREENSBURG...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 15
MPH.
101. StormJunkie
12:07 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Great video skye. TWC is showing clips of that.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
100. sayhuh
12:03 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Here is the link showing the image from the SRV I captured last night for the local news station regarding Greensburg.

SRV
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99. hurricane23
8:09 PM EDT on May 05, 2007
Guys here a high resolution image i saved on my radar from last nights amazing hook echo.

ffff
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
98. StormJunkie
12:02 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Hopefully they have that area pretty well cleared out STL.


Interesting to note that the 18z Ukmet run has the SE low going warm core also. You can find the FSU phase evolution page which shows the core analysis for each model from the Quick Links page. The Storm Prediction Center as well as a overview of the models link have recently been added to this page along with several other useful links.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
97. Skyepony (Mod)
12:04 AM GMT on May 06, 2007
Incredable video of yesterday's Ellis county tornado
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94. louisianaboy444
11:47 PM GMT on May 05, 2007
we got some pretty strong storms 2 days ago here in south louisiana its good to get a chance at some nice weather i pray for the people being affected tonight by these storms
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93. StormJunkie
11:49 PM GMT on May 05, 2007
Evening all.

Those poor folks are getting pounded again in the Greensburg area.

Looks like the SE coast is going to be out there for quite a while.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
90. hurricane23
7:44 PM EDT on May 05, 2007
On the 18z GFS it kinda deepens the low a bit but keeps of the coast.Also noticeing there might be something to contend with coming up from the caribbean moving north.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
88. RL3AO
6:21 PM CDT on May 05, 2007
Tropical= warm-core low
Extra-tropical= cold-core low
Sub-tropical= warm-core with characteristics of both.

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