National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


On the evening of Friday, May 17, 2019, a long-tracked supercell thunderstorm tracked from southwest-to-northeast through western portions of Dawson County Nebraska, producing three confirmed tornadoes (two rated EF-1 and one EF-0), and also large hail up to at least 2" in diameter. See tabs below for specific tornado details. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries within Dawson County, although two of the tornadoes narrowly missed striking the communities of Farnam and Cozad. This was the first confirmed EF-1 (or stronger) tornado within the NWS Hastings coverage area since Aug. 6, 2018, when an EF-1 touched down in rural York County, north of Bradshaw.  

Within Dawson County itself, the tornadic portion of the storm entered the far southwest portion of the county out of Frontier County around 7:15 p.m. CDT, reached the Cozad area shortly before 8 p.m., and exited the far north central part of the county into Custer County (south of Oconto) around 8:30 p.m. 

PLEASE NOTE: This story only focuses on Dawson County, as it was the only county affected by confirmed tornadoes within the NWS Hastings coverage area. However, several other tornadoes occurred with this storm in counties served by other NWS offices. 

- See this story from NWS Goodland for tornado details in Hitchcock/Red Willow counties
- See this story from NWS North Platte for details on tornadoes that occurred within Frontier and Custer counties. 

Taking a step back and looking at the ENTIRE life cycle of this supercell storm, it actually lasted roughly seven hours and tracked nearly 250 miles, first developing near Goodland, KS around 4 p.m. CDT, and finally weakening/merging with a separate line of storms over Garfield/Wheeler counties in north central Nebraska around 11 p.m. Fortunately, it only produced tornadoes along a fairly small portion of this total path. 

NWS Hastings radar loop from 2:30 PM May 17th through
4:00 AM May 18th. The NWS Hastings coverage area is outlined
in orange and labled "GID". The red lines are interstates.
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