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Mainly during the mid to late afternoon hours of Monday, May 9th, isolated to scattered severe thunderstorms blossomed across various portions of the 30-county NWS Hastings coverage area (click HERE for a map).

Several of these storms produced large hail ranging from 1 to 2" in diameter, with some of the largest-known 2" stones falling at Strang. However, the most notable severe weather "highlights" of the day featured a few tornadoes. The most significant tornado tracked along for a nearly 3-mile path east of Fairfield in southern Clay County around 5 PM, and even caused some minor damage (but fortunately no injuries) at Sandy Creek school. Another, brief "landspout" tornado was reported near Odessa in Buffalo County. Severe storms first developed with the heating of the afternoon around 4 PM, and had weakened and/or dissipated by around 7 PM.

Although a "marginal risk" of severe weather was noted heading into this event, the amount/magnitude of severe weather somewhat exceeded expectations, especially given the apparent lack of low level wind shear. In hindsight, it seemed that the presence of enhanced low-level instability (due to cold air aloft within the heart of an upper level low pressure system passing directly overhead) aided the development of these isolated severe storms and tornadoes.

NWS Hastings radar loop from 3:30 p.m. through 11:00 p.m. CDT on May 9th. The NWS Hastings coverage area is outlined in orange and labled "GID". Interstates are in red.


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Tornado #1 - East of Fairfield, NE
Clay County

Date Monday, May 9, 2016
Time (Local) 5:06 pm CDT
EF Rating EF-0
Est. Peak Winds 85 mph
Path Length 2.7 miles
Max Width 35 yards
Injuries/Deaths 0


A tornado rated an EF-0 on the enhanced fujita scale skipped its way east of Fairfield late Monday afternoon. Damage along its path included at least one pivot. There was also minor damage to the front walkway overhang at Sandy Creek School. Windows were also blown out of vehicles in the school parking lot and there was also minor damage to a concession area that was under construction on the property. The tornado crossed highway 14 and damaged trees and a fence before lifting a couple miles east of the highway. 

Track Map

Track Map EF-Scale

Downloadable KMZ File

Photo Photo Photo Photo
Damage along the path of the tornado. First 2 photos are from the Sandy Creek school, second 2 photos are tree damage northeast of the school.
Photos from NWS Damage Survey.


Photo Photo Photo
Photos courtesy of Dustin Wilcox. Photo courtesy of Scotty Nguyen.


Tornado #2 - Odessa/Riverdale area
Buffalo County

Date Monday, May 9, 2016
Time (Local) 4:30 pm
EF Rating EF-0
Est. Peak Winds 70 mph
Path Length Brief  Touchdown
Max Width 20 yards
Injuries/Deaths 0


A brief landspout tornado occurred near Odessa, Nebraska. No damage was reported. 

Track Map

Track Map EF-Scale

Downloadable KMZ File

Photo Photo
Photo courtesy of Michael McLaughlin. Photo courtesy of Seth Killion.
Landspout tornado in the Odessa/Riverdale area of western Buffalo County.


The Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale classifies tornadoes into the following categories:


65-85 mph
86-110 mph
111-135 mph
136-165 mph
166-200 mph
200+ mph


Photo Photo Photo Photo
Hail in Strang.
Photo courtesy of Elissa Wolfe.
8 miles north of Holdrege
Photo courtesy of
Amanda Waller.
1 mile southeast of Mankato, KS
Photo courtesy of
Rodney Nonamaker.
Near the USDA Research Center in Clay County.
Photo courtesy of
Twitter user @DrSnOu.

Storm Reports

Overall, the severe weather was confined to a smaller portion of the NWS Hastings coverage area. Outside of the tornado reports, hail reports ranged from the size of pennies to the size of hen eggs, with the largest hail coming from the Fillmore County, Nebraska (2" in Strang) and Jewell County, Kansas (1.75" near Mankato) areas.

Click the image below to get more detailed information about the severe weather reported across the area.


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