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Dozens of tornadoes reported in Nebraska, Kansas as severe weather slams central US

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
May 19, 2019, 12:12:09 AM EDT

Powerful thunderstorms erupted across the central U.S. on Friday afternoon from western Texas through Nebraska, unleashing dozens of tornadoes.

There were nearly 40 preliminary tornado reports in Nebraska and Kansas on Friday and Friday night, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Many of these twisters were spawned by two separate violent storms, known as supercells, that tracked for hundreds of miles.

The multi-day severe weather outbreak first got underway Thursday across the parts of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Wind gusts of 86 mph were recorded in Washington, Iowa, while hail the size of baseballs fell in Westville, Illinois. A tornado was reported in Sheridan, Illinois, about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. No injuries were reported.


The tornado in McCook, Nebraska, tore through fields near Highway 83. (Twitter/@grantkevin13)

Aaron Jayjack

A twister touched down in a field near McCook, Nebraska Friday, May 17, 2019. So far there have been no reported injuries. (Aaron Jayjack)


A rare occurrence of twin tornadoes touched down near Farnam, Nebraska on May, 17, 2019. (Twitter/@terrellstorms)


Twin tornadoes touched down in Farnam, Nebraska Friday afternoon around 7:20 p.m. CDT. (Twitter/@terrellstorms)

Reed Timmer

AccuWeather's Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer caught the tornado near McCook, Nebraska on video. (AccuWeather Photo/Reed Timmer)


A tornado touched down in McCook, Nebraska amid severe weather on Friday, May 17, 2019. (Twitter/@WX_JPTRACEY)


A tornado tore through a field between McCook and Culbertson, Nebraska Friday evening, May 17, 2019. (Twitter/@Sturms112010)


A tornado spotted near Minneola, Kansas, on Friday evneing.

Blake Naftel

A tornado crossed the Oklahoma-Kansas state line Friday evening, crossing from around Forgan, Oklahoma to Meade, Kansas. (AccuWeather Photo/Blake Naftel)

More powerful thunderstorms erupted across the central U.S. on Friday afternoon from western Texas through Nebraska. The strongest of the storms focused on central Nebraska, spinning up several large tornadoes.

Around 5:45 p.m. CDT, a tornado was reported near McCook, Nebraska. SPC reported tree and power line damage along with minor damage to a farm. As the storm tracked northeast, is spun up two tornadoes near Farnam, Nebraska around 7:26 p.m. CDT.

Later in the evening, a tornado was reported near Dodge City, Kansas, tracking just southeast of the city.

AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer was reporting from Nebraska for the AccuWeather Network and intercepted a tornado on foot near McCook, losing his hat in the process.

“Tornado Alley is certainly waking up with significant severe weather," Timmer said while breaking down the multi-day outbreak. Earlier this past week, he said this is the worst setup for severe weather he has seen in years.

Meanwhile, Blake Naftel, AccuWeather video journalist, intercepted a tornado near the border of Kansas and Oklahoma on Friday evening.

Some of these same areas were struck with severe weather once again on Saturday.

By Sunday, the threat for damaging storms will continue to push eastward into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to severe storm and tornado warnings in your area. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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Scroll down for the severe weather reports from Friday:

11:50 p.m. CDT Friday:

A new severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for portions of southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas as severe weather dangers continue overnight. While damaging winds, hail and downpours have become the primary threats with the storms, the risk of a tornado will continue into early Saturday morning.

A brief rope tornado was spotted near the Barton-Stafford County line 6 miles south of Great Bend, Kansas, according to a National Weather Service trained spotter.

10:43 p.m. CDT Friday:

A confirmed tornado continues to track across central Kansas northeast of Dodge City. This continues to be a particularly dangerous situation.

10:20 p.m. CDT Friday:

A wind gust of 76 mph was clocked at Russell, Kansas, as a line of powerful thunderstorms moved through the town.

9:40 p.m. CDT Friday:

A confirmed tornado continues to spin just east of Dodge City, Kansas. This is a particularly dangerous situation. People in the path of this storm should seek shelter immediately. The tornado will be difficult to see since the sun has set.

9 p.m. CDT Friday:

A confirmed tornado is located just south of Dodge City, Kansas, and is tracking toward the northeast. People in and east of Dodge City should seek shelter until the storm has passed.

8:25 p.m. CDT Friday:

Three more tornadoes touched down within the hour of the tornado near Farnam, Nebraska.

The first occurred near the Oklahoma-Kansas border between Forgan, Oklahoma, and Meade, Kansas, around 7: 35 p.m. CDT.

About 20 minutes later at 7:54 p.m. CDT, a large tornado touched down just north of Cozad, Nebraska. The SPC reports the tornado kicking up dust and debris.

A rain-wrapped tornado tracked through Eddyville, Nebraska, around 8:21 p.m. CDT.

7:40 p.m. CDT Friday:

Another tornado from the same storm that spun up the tornado near McCook briefly touched down near Farnam, Nebraska around 7:26 p.m. CDT. It downed trees and power lines, and local law enforcement has blocked off certain roads according to the SPC.

7:20 p.m. CDT Friday:

A tornado touched down near Stockville, Nebraska around 7:07 p.m. CDT. It is currently tracking towards Interstate 80. It can also bring blinding downpours and hail to people driving along the interstate.

This tornado was near Stockville, not Stockdale.

6 p.m. CDT Friday:

Another tornado touch down in Nebraska amid severe weather in Hitchcock County a few miles outside of McCook around 5:45 p.m. CDT. The Storm Prediction Center has reported tree and power line damage along with minor damage to a farm.

5 p.m. CDT Friday:

While severe weather unfolds in Nebraska and Kansas, a supercell moving across Texas begins to stir up trouble of its own.

Just before 5 p.m. CDT, storm chasers spotted a tornado in Pescos County, Texas.

4:25 p.m. CDT Friday:

Severe thunderstorms are developing in northern Kansas and central Nebraska. Golf ball-sized hail has been reported north of Goodland, Kansas, and near Thedford, Nebraska.

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hail reports(1).jpg

3 p.m. CDT Friday:

A tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm watch have been issued in the central U.S., covering parts of northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, central Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. This means that conditions are favorable for thunderstorms to develops in the next few hours that could produce tornadoes or other forms of severe weather.

Additional watches are likely to be issued by the National Weather Service later this afternoon and evening across the region.


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