Weather Service: Mile-Wide Tornado Hit Wichita

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saturday night's tornado was a mile wide as it moved across the Spirit AeroSystems campus, according to an interactive map of the tornado's path released by the National Weather Service.

The map, on the NWS website, tracks the tornado's path through the Wichita area. Damage reports begin near 79th Street South and Broadway, where tree and power line damage was reported on the south side of Haysville.

According to the map, the tornado touched down on the south side of Haysville, near 79th South and Broadway. The tornado was a half-mile wide as it moved across Oaklawn, where some of the heaviest damage was inflicted to the Pinair Mobile Home Park. Assessment teams have rated the tornado an EF3 as it passed through Oaklawn.

It grew to a mile wide as it crossed K-15 and into the Boeing and Spirit area. Damage there is rated at EF2.

The storm then moved across the northwestern edge of McConnell Air Force base before causing EF1-rated damage at Pawnee and Rock Road. The twister then decreased to EF0 in intensity is it caused damage near Kellogg and Greenwich Road before lifting near Central and 111th Street East.

While the damage reports on the interactive map end there, residents as far northeast as the El Dorado area report damage from the storm as it continued to track to the northeast once it left Wichita.

The National Weather Service believes there were actually two separate tornado tracks in Sedgwick County.

"It's what we call a cyclical supercell," explains Chance Hayes, Warning Coordination Meteorologist. "In essense, we had one circulation that came up over Clearwater right at the airport. That storm fizzled out and a new circulation developed near Haysville and moved off to the northeast through the Oaklawn area and McConnell Air Force Base."

Hayes also says there were three separate tornado tracks in Harper and Sumner Counties, but all of these tracks were caused by the same thunderstorm.

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