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Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Friday’s tornado that destroyed home went undetected by weather service

April 4, 2007

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A tornado tore through a rural home at 746 E. 300 Road, taking the roof off the home and ripping apart trees in its path. Nobody was injured in the storm, which blew through a rural area southwest of Clinton Lake on Friday night.

A tornado tore through a rural home at 746 E. 300 Road, taking the roof off the home and ripping apart trees in its path. Nobody was injured in the storm, which blew through a rural area southwest of Clinton Lake on Friday night.

A tornado that struck southwestern Douglas County on Friday night went undetected by the National Weather Service and by Douglas County Emergency Management.

No one appeared to know that a weak tornado had touched down until Adam Peterson returned home early Saturday morning to find his home severely damaged.

His father, Andy Peterson, who owns the home about six miles southwest of Clinton Lake, arrived Saturday morning to find parts of the roof destroyed, trees snapped in two and siding damaged on the one-story house.

One tree fell on top of the house.

"I didn't think it was good," Andy Peterson said. "We're just glad no one is hurt and I've got my house so (Adam) had a roof over his head."

Oddly enough, a tornado warning was in effect for another part of Douglas County - the extreme northwestern portion - at the time the tornado hit around 10:39 p.m. Friday.

Jennifer Stark, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said sometimes small tornadoes emerge unpredictably from a line of thunderstorms.

She added that a tornado watch covered the area Friday night where the tornado touched down.

"The environment was supportive of the potential for weak tornadoes," Stark said.

Stark estimated from the damage to Peterson's home that wind speeds produced by the tornado hovered around 80 mph.

She said the National Weather Service hadn't known about the tornado until Douglas County Emergency Management informed the service of it.

Douglas County Emergency Management hadn't known about the tornado until Saturday evening.

"It was a good almost 24 hours before they notified dispatch for a property check," said Teri Smith, acting director of Douglas County Emergency Management.

Andy Peterson said an insurance adjuster hadn't made a damage estimate yet and that the family would begin this weekend to try salvaging the house.

"We're going to try," he said. "The main part of the house is an old one-room school, and it's like three-foot solid rock. ... So we're going to try and save it if we can."

No other significant damage was reported in the area. The tornado, which was about 30 yards wide, touched down for about two miles moving north before it petered out, according to the National Weather Service.

Comments

RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Mr Blur, I earlier posted 'maybe it was actually a "Gustnado"'. The NWS called it a tornado...

I may have gone overboard pointing out that a gustnado can cause that much damage in that large of area.

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Mike Blur 7 years ago

Okay Reticent. We get you. You want to be right, so I'll say on behalf of the rest of the posters on ljworld.com...

You are right.

There. Feel better now?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Tychoman, Sorry for the long post. "Probably a titch stronger than a gustnado."-Tychoman These gustnados sound a titch strong... Dickenson County, Virginia on July 4, 1997. Along its path, wind speeds were estimated to be in excess of 100 miles per hour in some communities. It is thought that gustnadoes formed in the downburst from this supercell storm. A field survey confirmed localized pockets of tornado-like damage in the same path as the straight line wind damage. These smaller areas of tornado-like damage are thought to have been caused by gustnadoes. The storm had a nearly continuous damage path for over 100 miles before finally dissipating near Wytheville, Virginia.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON KY 630 PM EDT WED APR 4 2007 ...EF1 GUSTNADO CONFIRMED IN LAUREL COUNTY... A STORM ASSESSMENT TEAM CONSISTING OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICEPERSONNEL AND LAUREL COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT TOURED DAMAGE ALONG HIGHWAY 80 EAST OF LONDON. THE DAMAGE PATTERN SHOWED A PERSISTANT CONVERGENT PATTERN WITH EVIDENCE OF TWISTING. THE INITIAL DAMAGE WAS ALONG HIGHWAY 80 JUST EAST OF KY830. LARGE HARDWOOD TREES WERE SNAPPED AND UPROOTED AT THIS LOCATION. THE DAMAGE PATH CONTINUED EAST-SOUTHEAST WITH SNAPPED TREES AND SPORADIC ROOF DAMAGE. PATH LENGTH APPROXIMATELY 1.8 MILES...MAXIMUM PATH WIDTHAPPROXIMATELY 50 YARDS. MAXIMUM DAMAGE WAS RATED EF1 WITH WINDS AROUND 105 MPH.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY 801 PM CDT SUN APR 1 2007 ...PRELIMINARY DAMAGE SURVEY RESULTS FOR EXTREME WEST MCCRACKEN COUNTY KENTUCKY... EVENT DATE - SATURDAY MARCH 31, 2007 EVENT TYPE - GUSTNADO EVENT LOCATION - JUST EAST OF WOODVILLE PEAK WIND - 75 MPH AVERAGE PATH WIDTH - 25 TO 50 YARDS PATH LENGTH - ABOUT ONE MILE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK A STORM SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED THIS AFTERNOON TO INVESTIGATE THE WIND DAMAGE THAT OCCURRED IN BIXBY SHORTLY AFTER 2 PM ON APRIL 24TH. A HALF-MILE LONG DAMAGE PATH THAT WAS ABOUT 40 YARDS WIDE WAS SURVEYED. THE DAMAGE PATTERN THAT WAS FOUND STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT A SHALLOW VORTEX ALONG THE THUNDERSTORM GUST FRONT PRODUCED THIS DAMAGE. THIS TYPE OF ATMOSPHERIC VORTEX IS SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS A GUSTNADO. THE THUNDERSTORM UPDRAFT AREA WAS AT LEAST 5 MILES NORTH OF THE GUST FRONT AT THE TIME THE DAMAGE OCCURRED IN BIXBY.

http://home.comcast.net/%7Enbishop/videos/9.18.02.website.clip.final.WMV

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Pywacket 7 years ago

(uncontrollable giggling)

Make that, "phenomena." Never type after... oh, never mind...

I even looked at that, thinking it looked funny, and clicked on "print comment" anyway.

To Happy Hour. Cheers.

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Pywacket 7 years ago

flamingdragon~ if you think modern weather technology is not effective, compare numbers of tornado deaths and severe injuries from the decades prior to such technology to those of the decades following its implementation. No comparison, really..

To echo several others here, the technology is excellent but it is not failsafe, for crying out loud. No one ever said that it was, least of all the people who develop and use it, so don't expect the impossible.

Minko224~ love the comic relief--keep it coming!

Anyone ever see a tomato tornado? To see the best one ever (and lots of other amazing weather phenomenons) check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0689707495/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-9233346-2264101#reader-link

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Tychoman 7 years ago

30 yards wide and lasts for two miles? Probably a titch stronger than a gustnado.

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Centrist 7 years ago

I guess we all need to live underground, like they do in Coober Pedy .. http://www.cooberpedy.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=191

g

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Though the NWS has stated this was a tornado, maybe it was actually a "Gustnado". They are weak vortices that form in the gust front of a thunderstorm. Most have no visible connection to the cloud base. Gustnadoes can equal the strength of F0-F1 tornadoes and are dangerous. They form with different types of storms and many different environments. These gustnado circulations are virtually undetectable using radar, making advanced warning almost impossible.

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yankeelady 7 years ago

Out here in the sticks, even if they do issue a warning, it's not like we have sirens nearby that we can hear. if you've already gone to bed and don't have a weather radio you are pretty much out of luck. I believe we were under a tornado watch, if there's a watch and it seems bad, head for the basement. Technology can only go so far.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

Whats all the clamor?

A study done on Sudanese children who had an intake of tomatoes for 3 days compared with none showed an 83% reduction in morality rates.

We should have more tomatoes.

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bevy 7 years ago

If it makes any of you feel better, my grandpa has lived in this part of Kansas his entire 84 years and has NEVER seen a tornado.

We went to the basement when the weather radio said "Tornado Warning for NW Douglas County" It was a bit confusing when 10 minutes later they stopped saying it, and it took another 5 or so mins. before they announced that the Doug. Co warning was cancelled - as the storm moved into Jeff Co.

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fletch 7 years ago

Tornado detection and prediction is an incredibly complex problem. It's not something that gets solved in 6 months or a year just because people want it to be better. It's a lot better now than it was 20 years ago, but we're still another 10 or 20 years out of having a system that is even 75% reliable.

Point being: listen to warnings, apply common sense, and occasionally just cross your fingers.

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monkfellow 7 years ago

Actually, more people die from lightning strikes than from tornadoes, and that is as scary,if not more, than tornadoes. That said: The Tornado Watch was out for much of Eastern Kansas. Tornadoes will come out of severe thunderstorms with little warning, and return to the "mother" storm as quickly. We've had fun pointing out parts of "The Wizard Of Oz" but massive tornadoes such as were portrayed approaching Dorothy's house are pretty rare. (still,I have been humming da,duh,dah,DAH,dah,duh,duh....)

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Linda Endicott 7 years ago

Actually, in a thunderstorm, tornado or no tornado, you are more likely to be killed by flooding than by the tornado itself.

Yet idiots still insist on driving through standing water...

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minko224 7 years ago

So you're saying we really gotta watch out for cars. Hmmm why don't we setup a service that warns drivers of pending accidents and which model of car is more likely to be involved etc..etc...?

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loudmouthrealist 7 years ago

Her are some facts:

In 2005:

of tornadoes in KS...............135

of deaths by tornadoes.......0

of injuries by tornadoes.......0

source: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=2005kantorfacts

in 1999

of deaths by CAR ACCIDENTS in KS..540

in 2000

of deaths by CAR ACCIDENTSin KS...461

source: http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats/2000_by_state.html

I think its time that chicken little final pays attention to what really is going on.

Everyone posting on this site (including myself) is a lot more likely to be killed in a car accident the next time they get in their car to go to the store or church or school than they are to die during anyone of the next 1000 (not a scientific # but I am sure that # is actually a lot higher) tornadoes that touch down in KS.

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flamingdragon 7 years ago

whats the point between having tornado watches and tornado warnings? a few years ago: a watch meant that there was a good possibility for tornadic activity. a warning meant that a tornado had been spotted. (must be on the ground to be a tornado-otherwise it is just a funnel cloud) Now: a watch means probable tornado activity a warning means probable tornado activity talk about breaking something that is not broken. but anyway- are there any warning sirens near this guy's house anyway? night tornadoes are very difficult to detect.
I filmed the tornado that wrecked aberdeen-I was less than 1 mile away from it-and it wasn't the easiest thing to spot. It was very rain-wrapped-and of course, it was moving along pretty fast.

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lily 7 years ago

Mother Nature doesn't care about technology. As many have stated, nothing is perfect and when there is severe weather around, we all need to be careful. This stuff happening at night doesn't make it easy that's for sure. The thunderstorm that rolled through this week was only a 20% chance!

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Linda Endicott 7 years ago

Are you trying to say it's the NWS fault for that tornado hitting your house, Mr. R?

Gee...last I knew, all they could do was try to predict the weather...try to warn people when danger was coming...

I didn't realize they could stop tornadoes from hitting houses...

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Mr_Ramirez 7 years ago

So, according to the experts here, its your own dam fault for that tornado hitting your house. Have a nice day!

P.S.
"WE ARE ALL STILL INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR SAFETY!"

Quit screaming at everyone

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sourpuss 7 years ago

Anytime the weather turns severe, you should be ready to take cover. Have your flashlight at hand, put your shoes on, unplug electrical appliances and make sure you have your wallet/purse and property deeds at hand. You have to watch out for yourself and your own family, and any severe storm has the potential to drop small tornadoes or produce strong microbursts.

The NWS does an excellent job in predicting areas that can expect severe conditions, but individuals on the ground still have to look out after themselves. Flooding is still far more dangerous than tornadoes, so be sure not to drive through water-covered roadways as well.

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KansasKel 7 years ago

Minko - either that, or we could require everyone to live and work underground in a network of tunnels. And wear personal seismology equipment to forewarn of any fault line activity.

=)

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minko224 7 years ago

I feel we need to warn people of imminent tornado activity at least a couple days ahead of time in order to give families enough time to have the house excavated and moved to a safer location.

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Linda Endicott 7 years ago

I'm pretty sure, bytheway, that the poor family would still be sifting through tornado wreckage, even if the NWS had detected the tornado and had ample time to put out a warning. The NWS didn't cause the tornado, you know.

The NWS can only warn about severe storms and tornadoes. They can't prevent them.

Just be thankful no one was home at the time.

Myself, I always presume, if a tornado warning has been issued in any of the neighboring counties, I'd better keep a closer watch. Not only can tornadoes be fickle, but storms can and do abruptly change direction.

And I don't understand all the garbage anymore about "SW such and such county" or whatever. It used to be, if there was a warning issued, it was for an entire damn county. That way, there was no confusion about exactly where in the county you might be located, and who decided where the lines were drawn between SW, SE, NE, NW.

But I suppose there were people that complained about that. You know...daring to issue a tornado warning unless it was headed directly for them.

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minko224 7 years ago

Tornado warning or not, in the end we're all responsible for our own safety.

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trinity 7 years ago

tsk i think we should take this issue up with katie "tornadi" horner!!!

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Chris Golledge 7 years ago

Got to go with the defenders of the NWS on this one. Picture in your head the sweeps of the radar as the picture is refreshed. That represents a physical device, the radar 'dish', turning around in a circle, painting the environment with radio waves, and the information that bounces back being turned into a picture that we can understand. If a tornado comes and goes between sweeps of the dish, how is the radar monitor supposed to know?

There are limits to technology; just be glad we have what we have and don't blame someone who is giving best effort to increase your level of safety for not keeping you 100% safe.

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The_Original_Bob 7 years ago

Amy C - I will confirm what a few others had said... there was a tornado warning issued for NW Douglas County.

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minko224 7 years ago

You'd think they would have recognized a tornado was coming when they saw the old lady on the bike floating around the house.

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KansasKel 7 years ago

There was a warning for NW Douglas County, my weather alert radio went off and there was a scrolling message across the bottom of The Weather Channel plus channel 27 out of Topeka and I think 49 out of Topeka were live with radar. It didn't last long because that particular storm was barely in DG county and moving straight north so the warning was cancelled here and continued in Jefferson County.

It is a scary thought that this happened and no one even knew...what if someone had been injured? They could have died before anyone even found out about the tornado! A lot of advances have been made when it comes to tornado detection but the fact remains - they are unpredictable and fast, and it's unlikely there will EVER be a warning system that's completely infallible.

We all have to take responsibility to make ourselves aware of the weather conditions at all times during severe weather season, and be prepared! The bottom line is that no matter how much any agency does to help, WE ARE ALL STILL INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR SAFETY!

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amyc 7 years ago

I was paying close attention to the NWS warning website from 9 to 11 Friday evening and also flipping through the Topeka tv stations frequently. I was semi-frantic because there was a tornado doing damage in central Kansas just southwest of where my son lives. I saw no warning for Northwest Douglas County or any other part of Douglas County for either tornado or severe thunderstorm.

Something isn't working and it needs to be fixed.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

Excellent point, countrygirl.

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countrygirl 7 years ago

Predicting weather and storms is not an exact science and tornados can drop down out of a storm without any notice. For all of you who mumble when a tornado warning is issued without having a tornado on the ground need to remember this case for the future. Warnings are issued when it looks like storm could drop a tornando to try to keep people safe. It could have intensified very quickly and not given the weather service a chance to issue a warning.

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bytheway 7 years ago

That really sucks. Poor family having to dig through tornado roughage. Best of luck to them. NWS better watch their radars a little more carefully. You never know what those unpredictable storms are going to spurn.

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cowboy 7 years ago

ya don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

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The_Original_Bob 7 years ago

I agree with the 75 x 55.

God help us! The gov't can't protect us from everything.

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Reality_Check 7 years ago

Major tornados appear on radar as a hook echo, but smaller ones can appear and disappear and no one knows.

Quote of the Day: "I didn't think it was good," Andy Peterson said.

What would we do without such words of wisdom? :-)

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gccs14r 7 years ago

How are you going to see a funnel in the dark? Wait for lightning? Good luck.

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75x55 7 years ago

Wow. The weather service isn't all-seeing and all-knowing.... Whodathunkit?

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tweetybird2 7 years ago

If there was a tornado warning in NW Douglas County no sirens went off in Lecompton. It is in NW Douglas County. Doesn't make sense.

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plumberscrack 7 years ago

Exactly bear....They missed the tornado (Microburst) then and they missed this tornado!

I just hope they (Weatherspotters, DG emergency management) weren't all eating breakfast at Firstwatch like they were during the microburst/tornado of last year?!

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Ragingbear 7 years ago

You would have thought that after the inadequacies unearthed after last year's microburst that we would have better services by now.

Still goes to show you that your better off going onto your front porch and look for a telltale funnel coming towards you.

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