Central US braces for potential derecho packed with ‘extreme’ 100+ mph wind gusts, baseball-sized hail

Destructive derecho tears across Plains A powerful derecho packing 100-mph wind gusts, large hail and tornadoes blasted across the central U.S. on Sunday, leaving a 400 mile path of damage in Kansas.

Cleanup efforts are underway across parts of the central U.S. after a destructive derecho blasted across Kansas with 100 mph wind gusts and baseball-sized hail, causing major damage and knocking out power to tens of thousands of utility customers across the region.

This is now the second derecho in a week to blast parts of the U.S. On Thursday, a derecho plowed across parts of Texas and Louisiana, blasting the Houston metro area with winds up to 100 mph that left at least seven people dead and more than 1 million customers in the dark.

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Rare ‘Particularly Dangerous Situation’ Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued Sunday This graphic shows the severe weather warnings issued on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

(FOX Weather)

In addition to numerous Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm and Flash Flood warnings that were issued on Sunday, a rare Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Severe Thunderstorm Watch was also issued.

This was the first PDS Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued in the U.S. in nearly a year and was the first issued in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma since 2019.

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Damaging wind reports stretch more than 400 miles across Kansas This graphic shows the severe weather reports on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

(FOX Weather)

On Monday morning, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a verbal state of disaster emergency due to the storms. That declaration activates the Kansas Response Plan and the ability to expedite state agency assistance to communities in need.

In addition, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management is coordinating requests for support from counties that were impacted.

Storm survey teams fanned out across the region Monday to investigate the damage left behind by the powerful storms.

So far, one tornado has been confirmed in Kansas, and it impacted the community of Auburn in Osage County.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the damage was consistent with an EF-0 tornado and had winds estimated to be about 85 mph.

The NWS said the tornado touched down a few miles south-southwest of Auburn and was on the ground for just under a mile before it dissipated.

There were 13 reports of tornadoes in Kansas and Oklahoma on Sunday, and those reports will be investigated to determine whether a tornado or straight-line winds caused damage.

In addition to the tornado reports, there were dozens of hail reports and well over 100 damaging wind reports.

Significant damage was reported in Newton, Kansas, north of Wichita, on Sunday, including a video that showed part of a roof that had been torn off a church there.

“There is considerable damage, many downed trees, blocked roads and widespread power outages in Newton following tonight’s storm,” city officials said on X, formerly Twitter. “Please stay home and minimize traffic as first responders work emergency calls and clear streets.”

Watch: Hail pounds Kansas Hail came down fast and furious during a thunderstorm in Salina, Kansas. The largest stones were marble to quarter-sized.

In addition, Harvey County Emergency Management officials had warned residents of Burrton to shelter in place after a potential chemical leak was discovered when severe thunderstorms damaged an oil facility west of town. That shelter-in-place was lifted several hours later.

Hail between tennis ball- and baseball-sized was also reported with several storms. The largest report to the NWS as of Sunday evening was 3-inch hail in Ellis, Kansas.

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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Damage is seen in Russell, Kansas, after a severe storm ripped through the town May 19, 2024.
(City of Russell/Facebook)

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The shelf cloud of a supercell is seen approaching Salina, Kansas, on May 19, 2024.
(MikeH_SA119/X)

Widespread damage was also reported in and around the Wichita, Kansas, area, where winds of 75 mph were reported. 

Winds of up to 80 mph were reported in Whitewater to the northeast of Wichita.

A wind gust of 100 mph was reported at the airport in Salina, Kansas, on Sunday evening. A gust of 90 mph was reported near Fowler, Kansas.

At least 4 injured, Tornado Emergency issued in Oklahoma Sunday night At least four people were injured, and dozens of buildings were damaged when severe thunderstorms pushed through parts of Oklahoma on Sunday night.

The extreme weather even prompted forecasters to issue a rare Tornado Emergency west of Oklahoma City in Custer County, and a confirmed tornado was reported near Yukon and Interstate 40 two hours later.

Oklahoma City, Norman and Moore were all eventually placed under a tornado warning just before 10 p.m. CT.

On Monday afternoon, storm survey teams said they found damage consistent with an EF-2 tornado southwest of Yukon, just south of Page Airport. Another survey team found damage consistent with an EF-2 tornado outside of Custer City.

“Neither of these surveys are final, but we are able to confirm the tornadoes from yesterday, along with at least EF-2 damage,” the NWS said. “More details will be provided as the survey crews gather additional information.”

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said damage has been reported to a nursing home and mobile home in Blaine County, and two people were injured.

Up to 20 buildings sustained damage in Canadian County, and emergency officials in Custer County said at least 10 homes were damaged there.

Three more homes were damaged in the town of Butler, and two people were reportedly injured there.

Damage assessments in Oklahoma will continue.

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