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Major tornado outbreak in the Plains

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:00 AM GMT on March 29, 2007

A major severe weather outbreak is underway across the Plains this evening. Numerous tornadoes have been reported along a line stretching from the Texas Panhandle northwards through western Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Softball-sized hail was reported at Pantex, Carson County, Texas, and numerous reports of high winds over 60 mph have also been relayed. You can keep track of all the storm damage reports from our Local Storm Report page. So far it appears that the tornadoes have all missed populated areas, although a tornado crossed over a rest area on I-40 in the Texas Panhandle and flipped 18-wheelers there. In addition, Sharon Springs, Kansas had an impressive looking tornado pass just two miles east of town. A large multi-vortex tornado was also reported three miles southeast of Elmwood, in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Goodland Kansas had a near miss by another impressive tornado that passed five miles to the east.

Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of the March 28, 2007 tornado as it approached Sharon Springs, Kansas.

Figure 2. Radar velocity image of the March 28, 2007 tornado as it approached Sharon Springs, Kansas. Note the area of blue and red echoes just south of the circle with a "+" inside it that marks the location of Sharon Springs. The blues and reds show that strong winds going both towards and away from the radar exist in a small area, denoting the presence of a parent mesocyclone (rotating thunderstorm) and a tornado.

I'll be back Thursday morning with a summary of the severe weather outbreak.

Jeff Masters


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