Tornado season in the United States: 260 in just two weeks

The outbreak of severe storms that affected the center and east of that country during the second half of May produced 262 tornadoes and left 7 dead.

The United States is in full tornado season and severe weather. The cold, dry polar air meets the humid, warm air from the tropics above the central plains of the country, forming immense rotating storms called supercells that can produce tornadoes. An outbreak of supercells occurred a few days ago in the North American country, where in addition to tornadoes there were abundant rains, floods and huge hail.

Tornado in Minneola, Kansas

May has been a month of great intensity and several significant disasters. The outbreak that took place between the 17th and the 29th of that month produced numerous supercells in the region of the Great Plains and in some eastern states of the country.

In total, 262 tornadoes were counted in that period of time. Some 50 were classified as EF2 or higher, of which 18 were EF3 and 2 reached the EF4 category.

On May 28, the United States reached its 12th consecutive day with at least eight daily tornadoes, breaking the record of 11 days of the year 1980.

The map below shows the tornados (triangles) with the respective colors according to their intensity. The lilac areas had tornado alerts during this outbreak.

United States tornadoes map, outbreak of May

18 tornados of category EF3

During this tornado outbreak hundreds of them received categories of EF0, EF1 and EF2, and a few were not classified by little evidence or simply because they happened in rural areas without leaving any damage.

Meanwhile, 18 tornadoes reached the EF3 category, which took place in the counties listed below:

  • Nebraska: Frontier.
  • Kansas: Meade, Clark, Ford, Nemaha.
  • Texas: Concho, Runnels, Coleman, Ector, Midland, Lipscomb.
  • Missouri: Jasper, Barton, Miller, Cole, Callaway.
  • Oklahoma: Beaver, Ellis, Harper, Canadian.
  • Iowa: Van Buren.
  • Indiana: Miami, Fulton, Blackford, Wells.
  • Ohio: Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Greene.
Damaged homes, Tornado Dayton, Ohio

EF4 tornadoes hit Ohio and Kansas

This outbreak also produced two tornadoes of category EF4. One of them took place on Monday, May 27 at 22:31 Eastern Time in the United States, in Montgomery County, Ohio. The tornado started west of the town of Brookville and in its path destroyed roofs of houses and caused severe damage to a school, an apartment complex, some shops and a wastewater treatment plant. Four people were hospitalized.

The tornado continued to the towns of Trotwood and Riverside where it finally weakened. The winds reached speeds of up to 170 miles per hour (270 kilometers per hour), which placed it within the EF4 category.

The second EF4 tornado of this outbreak was registered in the state of Kansas and affected the counties of Douglas and Leavenworth. This funnel made landfall on Tuesday, May 28 at 6:05 p.m. in the center of the United States, in fields located east-northeast of the small town of Overbrook. The tornado continued northeast, lashing south and east of the city of Lawrence and impacting the small town of Linwood. A few kilometers later, west of Bonner Springs, the tornado dissipated.

Several houses and an industrial greenhouse were destroyed. The tornado made its way into the Kansas City metropolitan area, where numerous flights had to be canceled at its airport. In total, some 18 people were injured. The winds reached 180 miles per hour (290 kilometers per hour), making this tornado the most violent in Kansas since 2016.

Source: TheAustinMan, National Weather service. Images: Sean Waugh NOAA/NSSL, Wesley Hovorka, Wes Farnsworth. Video: Mean Motion Media.
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