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Arctic Front to Bring Wintry Conditions and Bitter Cold

A strong arctic front will bring heavy snow and blowing snow and high winds across the North Plains. As the front moves south, bitter cold will spread across much of the western 2/3rds of the U.S. Heavy lake effect snow will continue downwind of the Great Lakes, and heavy snow and areas with a wintry mix can be expected in southwest Alaska. Read More >

Rare Christmas Tornadoes and Hurricane Force winds

A wide variety of severe weather occurred across the Central Plains on Christmas Day 2016 as a strong storm system moved quickly through northern Kansas and southern Nebraska.  The day began with a line of thunderstorms which produced some tornadoes and damaging wind gusts.  Then later on Christmas evening, widespread Hurricane Force winds were recorded for a few hours across the area causing widespread damage.  A Christmas to go down in the record books.  

Christmas Day 2016 brought rare December tornadoes to north-central Kansas and south-central Nebraska. The brief, weak tornadoes developed just before noon along a line of thunderstorms. The first tornado touched down at 11:45 AM approximately four miles northwest of Alton, KS and tracked northeast for 1.9 miles. The tornado was rated EF-0 and damaged trees in shelter belts, fencing, a bin feeder, small shed and soffits and shingles on a home. The second tornado set down at 11:50 AM 2.8 miles south of Funk, NE and tracked northeast for 2.8 miles. The tornado was rated EF-1 and damaged at least six power poles and four center pivot systems. Another tornado briefly touched down and did minor damage to a farm at 12:17 PM approximately 7 miles southeast of Minden, NE. This tornado was rated EF-0. Yet another tornado developed at 12:24pm about 4 miles northwest of Gibbon, damaging multiple power poles and center pivots and destroying a small outbuilding in the Blue Sky Subdivision along is 4.2 mile track. This tornado was also rated EF-0.

The Nebraska tornadoes are the 'latest calendar year' tornadoes in Nebraska since at least 1950 and are the first December tornado since December 13, 1975. In 1975, a tornado tracked eight miles between Chester and Gilead in Thayer County and a brief tornado occurred near Steinauer in Pawnee County.

In Kansas, prior to 2016, it appears at least eight tornadoes occurred in Kansas in December since 1950. The most recent December tornado was an EF-0 in Harper County on December 14, 2014.  Prior to that two tornadoes occurred in Cherokee County on December 18, 2002. The latest 'calendar year' tornado was on December 26, 1959 when an F2 tornado occurred west of Talmage in Dickinson County.

In addition to the tornadoes, thunderstorms produced damaging winds into the afternoon on Christmas, then during the evening hurricane force winds of 60 to near 80 mph blasted the region behind a cold front. More information on the winds and damage can be found here.

NWS Hastings radar loop from 10:30-3:00 p.m. CST on December 25th. The NWS Hastings coverage area is outlined in orange and interstates are in red.

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