Greensburg, KS Tornado

The tornado outbreak that happened in the Central Plains over the weekend is still fresh on everybody’s mind. The tornado that has made headlines was the EF5 that struck the small town of Greensburg, KS, which is near State Highway 64. It was reported that 95% of the town was wiped out; unfortunately, 12 fatalities were reported.

Thankfully, the weather service in Dodge City, KS was able to issue a tornado warning for Kiowa County, 25 minutes before the tornado hit. The National Weather Service concluded that the tornado was 1.7 miles wide at it widest point and tracked 22 miles before lifting. The tornado was rated an EF-5, the first of its kind since the new Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale has been implemented. The last F5 was back on May 4th, 1999 in Oklahoma City. The winds with an EF-5 tornado are 200 to 234 mph. The winds with this tornado were estimated at 205 mph according to the NWS.

The whole town of Greensburg was evacuated when a 14,000 gallon tank of ammonia overturned and started leaking during the storm. According to Larry Ruthi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, the tornado moved at a speed of 20 mph and it took 15 to 20 minutes to wipe out the whole town.

(Image Source: NWS, Velocity Data) 

Wes Wyatt
Steven Ray

Monday Afternoon Forecast Update

If you heard some strange noises last night that woke you from your sleep, you were not dreaming. A strong gust of wind moved into the area as one of the strongest back door cold fronts I’ve seen pushed through West Alabama. It’s not everyday you see a cold front move in from the east and as I mentioned the wedges that typically impact east Alabama, don’t usually make a huge impact this far east. As a result, we had some pleasantly cool temperatures today.

The cooler weather was welcomed relief from the warmth and humidity we had over the weekend. The cool-easterly flow will make for a chilly night, as lows will be dropping to near 49-degrees in many spots. The reasoning for this push of cooler air is a very strong area of low pressure parked off of the Carolinas. This upper level storm system produced hurricane force wind gusts for portions of the east coast over the weekend. This impressive storm will be retrograding (moving opposite of the mean flow) westward towards Florida. As this system pushes west, another disturbance will approach us from the west. This will flatten out the high-pressure ridge over the area resulting in scattered showers and thunderstorms for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

As you know another big severe weather outbreak unfolded over the Central Plains this past weekend. Numerous tornadoes were reported and the storm of the day produced an EF5 tornado that basically destroyed over 90% of the town of Greensburg, KS. The tornado at one point was believed to be 1.7 miles in width. Be sure to tune in tonight to see some amazing chase video that captured one tornado as it raced across Oklahoma.

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Hey kids! We’re looking for guest weather anchors this month. Simply send us a letter telling us why you like the weather. Also, we need your phone number, and a brief description of why you like the weather. Send your entry to:

  • Guest Weather Anchor
    WVUA-TV
    Box 870172
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV