Greensburg, KS EF5 Tornado Video…Wet Days Ahead

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  As Mark discussed in our previous blog entry this is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.  Mark went over valuable saftety information in yesterday’s blog.  So today, I thought I would share some tornado video from a rare EF-5 tornado that hit Greensburg, KS back on May 4, 2007.

Before we look at that I want to go over a few things in regards to storm chasing.  First off, storm chasing can be very dangerous.  If you ever want to go storm chasing I highly recommend going with an experienced storm chaser who has a vehicle equiped with radar, a weather radio, and CB radio.  Also, it is a good idea to attend one of the National Weather Service Spotter Talks each Spring.  This way you will know exactly what you are looking at when in the field.

Storm chasing is very difficult in Wisconsin due to the numbers of trees and hills across the state, and also the structure of most of our thunderstorms.  In Wisconsin, a majority of our thunderstorms are linear in nature or clustered together.  While in the Plains, often times isolated supercells form.  These allow for good viewing at a ‘safe’ distance.

Every storm chaser wants to see a tornado, they just do.  The hope is a tornado forms over an open field, and does not hit any homes or towns.  That is in a perfect world, but of course this world isn’t.  Back on May 4, 2007 my former tv station’s lead storm chaser Sean Wilson was out in central Kansas storm chasing.  Around 9:30 p.m. that night he and a person he took with to chase encountered the most destructive of tornadoes…an EF-5.

Below is the video they captured of that tornado.  Since it is dark, the video is slowed each time a lightning flash occurs so that you can see the tornado.  A few things to keep in mind.  The tornado was 1.7 miles wide at one point, the strongest winds were 205 mph in Greensburg, and the tornado was on the ground for 28.8 miles.

You will hear Sean and Tim, who at first were excited, but then became very concerned when the tornado continues to grow.  Sean is a trained EMT who helped in Greens burg when they arrived in the town after the tornado struck. 

That video gives me chills each time I see it.  Once the sun rose the next day the pictures of Greensburg were devastating.  Around 95% of the town was destroyed.  The picture below was one of many showing that nothing was spared.

During Severe Weather Awareness Week we recommend that you take a few minutes and discuss with your family where you would seek shelter if a tornado warning would be issued for your area. 

Thankfully we have had very little severe weather so far this Spring across Southeast Wisconsin.  And the storm that heads our way this week does not look to be a severe weather producer at this point.  Instead, it may produce quite a bit of rain.

Below is a rainfall forecast from late Friday thru 1 a.m. Monday.  This is when most of our rain should fall.  Notice that Milwaukee is in an area of 1″ to 2″!

Make sure to watch WISN 12 News for the latest on the weekend forecast.  You can also follow our forecasts on Facebook at WeatherWatch 12  and on Twitter.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


2 Responses

  1. I remember tracking this storm via radar from Goodland KS and Dodge City. I was watching not only the reflectivity, but watching the storm velocity mode. At one point, I measured a couplet of about 3-5 MILES wide. Because of the distance from the storm, and the upward tilt of the radar I suspect I was seeing mid level in the storm. If over a mile at the surface, certainly what I was seeing was correct. I didn’t know all this at the time and really thought I was seeing a radar error. I could not believe what I was seeing. It is quite a learning tool to take the reflectivity loop and watch how this storm continued its own evolution. It is simply amazing.

  2. Speaking of tornadoes, I took this image about half an hour from a cell west of Amarillo TX. If only they all looked this clear…

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