National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Giant Hail, Wind and Tornadoes

Wallop South Central and Southeastern Kansas

September 15th, 2010




Severe thunderstorms which developed late afternoon on September 15th, 2010, produced six confirmed tornadoes, extensive wind damage and record setting hail.  Hail measuring 7.75 inches in diameter and weighing 1.1 pounds fell in southwest Wichita (CLICK HERE for more information on the record hailstone).  This was part of a large hail swath that extended from Goddard to Udall.  Numerous cars and homes were damaged by the baseball to larger than softball sized hail. The supercell responsible for this hail transitioned as it exited Sedgwick County and produced extensive wind damage across a large part of Cowley County.  Another supercell which produced a brief tornado in Greenwood County, transitioned into a bow echo (a line of storms) that produced 65 to 75 mph winds across parts of Wilson, Montgomery and Labette Counties.


Meteorological Background:

During the morning of September 15, 2010, a line of convection moved across central and eastern Kansas which created a cold pool over much of the same area.  The cloud cover associated with these early thunderstorms along with a surface low pressure system helped set the stage for the later monster thunderstorms.  As the clouds started to clear across southern Kansas ahead (east) of the surface low, temperatures started to climb as did dewpoint temperatures.  The combination of the surface boundaries from the early morning cold pool  and the cold front associated with the surface low pressure aided in creating an area of convergence which helped to initiate thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms developed in Reno County just before 4 pm.  The high dewpoints and surface temperatures were ripe conditions for explosive and intense thunderstorm development. 



Overview loop of radar data, warnings and storm reports

Radar image at 6 pm.  A sampling of storm reports is overlaid which shows the track of the supercells.   Legend: Tornado (T) Hail (H)



Sedgwick and Cowley Counties

Hail and Tornado Damage




The storms that developed in Reno County quickly became supercells with the largest moving over Cheney Lake before taking a right turn and moving southeast across Maize, Goddard and Western Wichita.  As it moved over these areas, baseball to softball and even larger sized hail damaged homes, vehicles, lawns and everything else in its way.  However, the storm wasn't over with the large hail.  Tornadoes also touched down across southern Sedgwick County and Cowley Counties.  The supercell continued on a southeasterly trek moving near Haysville, Derby, and eventually moving just to the northeast of Winfield.


The extreme power in these supercells allowed for hail up to at least seven inches, if not larger, to be created before they fell to the ground. There were up to five tornado touchdowns with this supercell as it moved across southern Sedgwick County and across Cowley County. 

Radar Images
Radar image at 549 pm. Baseball and larger hail was occurring in the dark pink and purple areas.

Radar image of a supercell moving into Cowley County and two in Greenwood County.
Radar image of doppler wind velocities.  Strong rotation occurs where bright red and green are close together.  One supercell is north of Winfield and two are in  Greenwood County.

Hail Photos

New State Record

The hailstone (pictured below) which fell around 6 pm near Pawnee and 119th Street in West Wichita, may set a record for the largest diameter hailstone in Kansas.  This hailstone was 7.75 inches in diameter, 15.5 inches in circumference, and weighed 1.1 pounds. The circumference and weight were officially measured 15 hours after it fell.  The previous Kansas record hail fell in Coffeyville, on September 3, 1970 was 5.7 inches in diameter, 17.6 inches in circumference, and 1.65 lbs.

7.75 inch hail that fell near Pawnee and 119th Street. Picture from Melissa McCarter.

7.75 inch hail fell near Pawnee and 119th Street. Picture from Melissa McCarter.

Photo courtesy of KSN.


Hail Pictures


Picture courtesy of Jordan Henion

Picture courtesy of Jerilyn


Picture courtesy of Matt Harding


Picture courtesy of Matt Harding

Picture courtesy of Matt Harding


Picture courtesy of Bryce Kintigh


Picture courtesy of NWS Wichita


Picture courtesy of NWS Wichita



Picture courtesy of NWS Wichita

Picture courtesy of NWS Wichita

Picture courtesy of NWS Wichita


Tornado/Funnel Photos

Photo courtesy of Jim Reed

Photo courtesy of Jim Reed

Photo courtesy of Jim Reed

Photo courtesy of Jim Reed


 Wind Damage Photos


 Tree damage at the Winfield Veteran's Administration Property. Picture by Brian Stone 

 A mobile home is damaged in Cowley Co. Picture by Brian Stone 

Damage to the Winfield Correctional Facility. Picture by Brian Stone  Barn debris in Cowley Co. Picture by Brian Stone 


Butler-Greenwood-Elk County Supercell with Tornado



Another supercell developed near El Dorado, which also became large and strong.  This supercell continued to track southeast across Greenwood and into Elk Counties.  A funnel was first spotted in southwestern Greenwood County and a touchdown occurred near the town of Severy.


Radar Images

Radar image of a supercell in Greenwood County.

Radar image of velocity showing the strong rotation on between Severy and Climax in Greenwood County.

Funnel cloud located near Severy, KS at 7:23pm. Picture taken by Jim Saueressig II.




Montgomery and Labette County Straight Line Winds



Severe thunderstorms continued to track southeast and developed into a line.   A surge of stronger winds developed on the line as the storms moved across portions of Montgomery and Labette Counties.   Winds of 66 mph were measured at the Parsons Tri-City Airport before the measuring equipment failed.  Estimated winds around 70 mph resulted in widespread wind damage in Parsons.  Winds of 60 to 70 mph were also estimated in Coffeyville.  


Radar Images

Radar image of the bow echo as it approached Labette County with strong straight line wind damage.

Radar image of velocity of the bow echo as it approached Labette County. The bright colored red shows the strongest wind speeds approaching Labette County.





Summary of Most Significant Severe Reports


Large Hail:

  • 7.75 Inch hail near Pawnee and 119th, Wichita
  • Multiple reports of grapefruit sized hail (4 Inches)
  • Multiple reports of baseball sized hail (2.75 inches)


  • 7 miles west of Derby, Sedgwick County
  • 6 miles east of Clearwater, Sedgwick County
  • 1 mile east of Mulvane, Sumner County
  • 2 miles north-northwest of Severy, Greenwood County
  • 8 miles north of Winfield, Cowley County
  • 3 miles northwest of Burden, Cowley County


Damaging Wind:

  • 80 MPH (estimated) in Winfield, Cowley County
  • 76 MPH (measured) in Mulvane, Sumner County
  • 72 MPH (measured) in Cherryvale, Montgomery County
  • 70 MPH (estimated) in Fredonia, Wilson County
  • 66 MPH (measured) in Parsons, Labette County