This funnel feature is dedicated to discussing what occurred during May 24 and 25, 2016 near Dodge City and Solomon/Chapman, KS, respectively.
May 24, 2016 – Dodge City, KS
May 24, 2016: A date that both chasers and meteorologists will never forget. 13 tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service this day, as an “enhanced risk” with a 10% tornado risk was issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
A dryline, which began in eastern New Mexico at 09z (4AM CDT), advanced eastward into extreme southwest Kansas and Lubbock, TX by 18z (7PM CDT). However, storms were not expected near Lubbock, as the environment wasn’t favorable for convection. With a combination of the triple point, dryline, a leftover outflow boundary from the previous day, and dewpoints approaching the 70’s, the atmosphere was primed for supercells capable of producing tornadoes near Dodge City, KS.
The tornadoes were rated anywhere between EF-0 to EF-3. An EF-2 tornado came very close to hitting downtown Dodge City, but thankfully remained to the west of the city. However, downtown wasn’t able to completely dodge any kind of damage, as hail as large as 3” have been reported. Click here for the National Weather Service summary.
May 25, 2016 – Chapman, KS
The next day, everyone woke up and thought it would it would be a day to relax after such an amazing chase day the previous day. Little did people know that this day was going to produce a long tracked, 90-minute tornado.
The Storm Prediction Center issued a slight risk with a 2% tornado probability for parts of Kansas and Texas. Tornado researchers were looking at data they collected the day before, while photographers and chasers were processing their photos and videos as they stayed in their hotels. However, the few who chose to chase this day were in for an amazing treat.
An initial small tornado touched down and lasted about one minute just to the south of Minneapolis, KS. At 7:07PM CDT, the fun began, as a long tracked, violent EF-4 tornado touched down. This tornado was on the ground for just over 90 minutes, destroying everything in its path.
It was a close to textbook chase: movement at a very slow pace while being parallel on W/E roads (perpendicular on N/S roads), along with a very evident RFD slot (Rear Flank Downdraft). The rain managed to stay out of the way during the tornado’s initial stages and most of the way through its lifetime. Chasers tracked this tornado on I-70 and roads that extended from that highway for around 90 minutes. Near the end, the rain wrapped around the tornado, making it close to impossible to see as it was approaching Chapman, KS. Thankfully, the tornado took a southward jog and spared the city (which is always a good thing). Shortly afterwards, the tornado dissipated.
It is very rare that a tornado would be rated in the violent category (EF-4 and EF-5) and have very little injuries and/or fatalities. Thankfully, residents in the way of this tornado took cover when the warning was issued, and no one got injured or lost their lives. Check out the National Weather Service’s summary for this event by clicking here.
By: Brandon Molyneaux