March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak


March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak
March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak
Map of confirmed tornadoes in the outbreak.
Date of tornado outbreak: March 13, 1990
Duration1: 2 days, 59 minutes
Maximum rated tornado2: F5 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 64 confirmed
Damages: $543.408 million
Fatalities: 2
Areas affected: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa.

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita Scale

The March 1990 Central US tornado outbreak is a tornado outbreak that affected portions of the United States Great Plains and Midwest regions from Iowa to Texas from March 11 to March 13, 1990. The outbreak produced at least 64 tornadoes across the region including 4 violent tornadoes; two of which were rated F5 that touched down north and east of Wichita, Kansas in which the most publicized tornado of this outbreak struck Hesston. In Nebraska, several strong tornadoes touched down across the southern and central portion of the state including an F4 that traveled for over 125 miles. 2 people were killed in the outbreak in Kansas both from the F5 tornadoes.

Contents

Overview

The Central U.S. tornado outbreak of March 13, 1990, was one of the most violent outbreaks March has ever seen (second only to the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965 in terms of violent tornadoes, and the March 2006 Tornado Outbreak Sequence in terms of the total number of tornadoes reported). Numerous tornadoes touched down across Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. Two tornadic thunderstorms with exceptional life spans/tornado families were observed; one produced an F4 tornado in Eastern Nebraska that was on the ground for over 100 miles. The other produced an extensive tornado family in southern Kansas that included two F5 tornadoes. The first of these struck the town of Hesston, Kansas, and was one of the most photographed and documented violent tornadoes in history.

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
F0
Confirmed
F1
Confirmed
F2
Confirmed
F3
Confirmed
F4
Confirmed
F5
64 12 25 13 10 2 2

(based on NOAA Storm Data)

Reported tornadoes

March 11 event

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Kansas
F0 Reno Reno 2300 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F1 Rice Rice 2315 14 miles
(22.6 km)
Sources: NOAA Storm Data Tornado History Project - Storm Data, March 11, 1990

March 12 event

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Iowa
F0 NW of Sawyer Lee 0440 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
Kansas
F1 SE of Topeka Shawnee, Douglas 0549 5 miles
(4.8 km)
F1 W of McClouth Jefferson 0610 3 miles
(4.8 km)
Sources: NOAA Storm Data Tornado History Project - Storm Data - March 12, 1990

March 13 event

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Kansas
F1 NW of Jetmore Hodgeman 0836 1 miles
(1.6 km)
F5 Castleton to Hesston Reno, Harvey, McPherson 2234 48 miles
(77.8 km)
1 death - see section on this
F1 E of Thornburg Smith 2248 13 miles
(20.8 km)
F1 NE of Esbon Jewell 2300 1.5 miles
(2.4 km)
F5 Goessel to NE of Hillsboro Harvey, McPherson, Marion 2330 22.0 miles
(35.7 km)
1 death - see section on this
F0 SW of Portland Sumner 0004 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F0 N of Conway Springs Sumner 0012 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F2 W of Pilsen to NW of Volland Marion, Morris, Geary, Wabaunsee 0015 55 miles
(88 km)
F1 SW of Webber Jewell 0020 5 miles
(8 km)
F1 S of Danville Harper 0035 12 miles
(19.2 km)
F1 E of Randall Jewell, Cloud, Republic 0045 13 miles
(20.8 km)
F3 W of Moundridge Reno, Harvey, McPherson 0055 18 miles
(28.8 km)
F2 W of Belleville Republic 0100 15 miles
(24 km)
F0 S of Belleville Republic 0116 0.5 miles
(0.8 km)
F0 Salina Saline 0150 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F1 E of Wamego Pottawatomie 0203 2 miles
(3.2 km)
F0 S of Concordia Cloud 0240 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F1 S of Chetopa Labette 0645 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Iowa
F1 N of Stiles to SE of Floris Davis 2132 14 miles
(22.4 km)
F0 Bettendorf area Scott 2231 0.3 miles
(0.5 km)
F0 E of LeClaire Scott 2242 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F3 E of LeClaire, IA to SE of Albany, IL Scott, IA, Rock Island, IL, Whiteside 2245 15.5 miles
(24.8 km)
F4 Prairieburg to Worthington Linn, Jones, Delaware, Dubuque 2253 19 miles
(30.4 km)
F1 NE of LeClaire Scott, Clinton 2242 13 miles
(20.8 km)
F1 Monticello area Jones 2308 6 miles
(9.6 km)
F1 NE of Crescent Pottawattamie 2242 8 miles
(12.8 km)
F1 S of Holy Cross Dubuque 2355 3 miles
(4.8 km)
F0 NE of Ortonville Dallas 0120 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F2 Ogden to E of Stanhope Boone, Hamilton 0125 22 miles
(35.2 km)
F1 E of Ridgeport Boone 0135 1 miles
(1.6 km)
F2 Ankeny to S of Maxwell Polk, Story 0155 15 miles
(24 km)
F3 E of Fernald Story 0236 9 miles
(14.4 km)
Oklahoma
F2 NW of Bradley to E of Norman Grady, McClain, Cleveland 2244 28 miles
(44.8 km)
F3 SE of Hawley to NE of Wakita Grant 2315 19 miles
(30.4 km)
F2 W of Criner to W of Slaughterville McClain, Cleveland 2331 18 miles
(28.8 km)
F1 NE of Norman Cleveland 2353 5 miles
(8 km)
F3 NE of Wakita, OK to SW of Mayfield, KS Grant, OK, Sumner, KS 2354 22 miles
(35.2 km)
F2 SW of Stella to SE of Jacktown Cleveland, Pottawatomie, Lincoln 2359 19 miles
(30.4 km)
F1 W of Waurika to SW of Loco Jefferson, Stephens 0001 21 miles
(33.6 km)
F3 SW of Loco to NW of Alpers Jefferson, Stephens, Carter, Garvin 0058 22 miles
(35.2 km)
F2 NE of Tatums to NE of Paul's Valley Garvin 0150 28 miles
(44.8 km)
F2 NE of Edna Creek, Okmulgee 0210 9 miles
(14.4 km)
Nebraska
F1 NW of Shelton Buffalo 2245 1 miles
(1.6 km)
F3 NW of Minden to S of Cairo Kearney, Buffalo, Hall 2300 32 miles
(51.2 km)
F4 S of Red Cloud to E of Schuyler Webster, Nuckolls, Clay, Fillmore, York, Seward, Butler, Colfax 2305 131 miles
(209.6 km)
F2 E of Sacramento Kearney 2320 8 miles
(12.8 km)
F2 S of Wood River Adams, Hall 2325 9 miles
(14.4 km)
F0 N of Kearney Buffalo 2335 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F3 N of Alda to NW of Archer Hall, Howard, Merrick 2344 27 miles
(43.2 km)
F2 W of Fullerton Merrick, Nance 0023 13 miles
(20.8 km)
F1 NE of Boone Boone 0025 1.5 miles
(2.4 km)
F1 SE of Fullerton Nance 0030 2 miles
(3.2 km)
F1 Newman Grove area Madison 0045 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F1 SE of Battle Creek Madison 0130 0.6 miles
(1 km)
F3 N of Carleton to SE of Exeter Thayer, Fillmore 0145 25 miles
(40 km)
F3 NE of Chester Thayer 0145 13 miles
(20.8 km)
F1 N of Bancroft Thurston 0401 1.5 miles
(2.4 km)
Texas
F0 NE of Lusk Throckmorton 2330 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
Missouri
F2 SE (Hwy AB) of Pleasant Hope Polk 0330 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Sources: NOAA Storm Data Tornado History Project Storm Data - March 13, 1990

The Hesston and Goessel Tornado Family

The Hesston, Kansas tornado as it passed through town near Interstate 135.

The storms that struck Hesston and Goessel were both spawned by the same Supercell Thunderstorm. They were part of what is known as a tornado family; a family that included several additional touchdowns after the Goessel storm dissipated.

The first tornado of the Hesston storm touched down at approximately 4:34 p.m. CDT just to the northeast of Pretty Prairie. It was initially between 200 and 500 yards in diameter, and caused minimal (F1-F2) damage as it churned between Castleton and the Cheney Reservoir. Photographic evidence suggests significant widening as the tornado approached Haven and the Arkansas River. The damage path ranged between 1/2 and 3/4 miles near Haven, and several homes were completely demolished indicating F4 damage. Had the tornado moved through a more populated area in this stage of its life, it is likely that it would have caused much more dramatic damage. Fairly constant F3 damage was produced from Haven to Burrton and to the Little Arkansas River. The path width remained over 1/2 mile in diameter.

Northeast of the Little Arkansas, the track abruptly decreased in width from 1/2 mile to just over 300 yards. Photographs suggest what appears to be a re-organization of the tornadic circulation; initially a wedge like appearance, the funnel quckly became tall and narrow. The most significant damage was done in this stage, however. The tornado plowed into the town of Hesston, just northwest of Newton on I-135. Numerous homes and businesses were destroyed, and several were swept completely from their foundations. Portions of the damage path in Hesston were rated F5. 59 people were injured; fortunately, only one fatality was reported.

The series of events that occurred as the tornado moved past the Hesston area were most interesting. Eyewitness accounts observed the touchdown of an additional tornado just to the north. Over the course of a few miles, the new tornado intensified and the original one diminished. Eventually, the Hesston storm (after having traveled for nearly 48 miles) merged with the new funnel, and the system began to re-intensify. Violent damage was produced by the second tornado in Marion county; several homes were again completely demolished and swept away and one additional fatality was reported. The storm passed Goessel and then dissipated approximately 22 miles from its genesis. It was also rated F5.

See also

References

External links


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