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June 19th 1990 Inland Hurricane



Event Overview

One of the most destructive storms in South Central Kansas history swept through on June 19th 1990 and would later be titled the “Inland Hurricane”.

This intense storm developed near Pratt around 8:15pm on Tuesday June 19th 1990. As the storm tracked east and slightly northeast it produced a large swath of 65 to 120 mph straight line winds through parts of six counties. By 10 pm this intense line of storms had blown through Wichita leaving nearly 20,000 homes without power and by 10:15 pm this destructive storm was taking aim on parts of Butler and Harvey counties. Below are some facts surrounding this devastating straight-line wind event:

  • This storm caused over $80 million dollars damage. This was over 3 times the amount of damage that resulted from the violent tornado touchdowns that occurred on March 13th the day of the Hesston Tornado.
  • About 60,000 KG&E customers across six counties were without power, some for as long as five to six days. At the time, the storm was the most damaging in 30 years for KG&E utility.
  • Thirty three people were injured; fortunately no one was killed.
  • The peak recorded wind gust was 116 mph, which reaches low-end category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind intensity scale. On the enhanced Fujita Scale the 116mph winds would be rated an EF2
  • The storm knocked out power to all the Wichita TV stations, and they were off the air for hours.
  • All but one of the Wichita Radio Stations, including the Wichita NOAA Weather Radio Station KEC-59, was knocked off the air.

Damage Pictures

Mobile home damage north of Bently. Photo courtesy Wichita Eagle

Grain bin damage near Furley KS. Photo courtesy Wichita Eagle.

Storm damage at Jabara Airport. Photo courtesy Wichita Eagle.

Damage to KFDI tower near Colwich. Photo taken by KG&E and courtesy "Year of the Storms"

Damage at Jabara Airport. Photo taken by Dave Dinell and courtesy "Year of the Storms"

Wind damage to the Valley Center branch of the Andale co-op. Photo by Vanessa Mayes and courtesy "Year of the Storms".

Wind damage to mobile home. Photo by Cynthia Snyder and courtesy "Year of the Storms".

Damage to Jabara Airport. Photo by David Dinell and courtesy "Year the Storms".
Tree damage in Valley Center. Photo by Vanessa Mayes and courtesy "Year of the Storms".

Power pole damage in northern Sedgwick County. Photo by KG&E and courtesy "Year of the Storms".

Video courtesy KWCH

Meteorological Summary
John Davies

The derecho intiated near a stationary front in central Kansas where surface temperatures at late afternoon were around 100 F, with dewpoints in the mid-upper 50sF. Large instability was available; SPC/NSSFC noted lifted indices of -6 to -11 when my forecaster friend and mentor Bob Johns, now retired and a derecho expert, issued the thunderstorm watch just after 8 pm CDT. But with the large temperature/dewpoint spreads (on the order of 40 F !), strong evaporative cooling below the high cloud bases as rain began to fall probably helped generate some of the hurricane-like winds that carried through with the bow echo. A small short wave at 500mb coming out of the flat trough over the great basin also helped trigger the storm cluster, and a 25-35 knot low-level jet (850mb) just east of the surface heat axis over south-central Kansas may have helped with storm organization and intensity, as well.



Surface map analyzed by John Davies

500mb Chart

500mb chart with contours

850mb chart

Storm reports

Radar observation

Additional Storm reports

Tornado warnings

Severe thunderstorm watch

Special thanks to John Davies. Without his help this page would not have been possible


This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.