NWS Topeka Explains Why No Tornado Warning Was Issued Sunday Night

Statement from National Weather Service Topeka via their Facebook page:

As many in the Topeka area have heard by now there was a weak EF0 tornado that touched down last night around 920pm or so. The tornado skipped along a 1.6 mile path and lasted around 5 minutes.

We had been watching this storm since it formed in Wabaunsee county and could see some interesting albeit weak rotation in radar data. We thought it would be prudent to ask Shawnee County Department of Emergency Management to get spotters out and they did. We'd like to thank our Shawnee County Emergency Management Partners. They are some of the best around in helping out the NWS Topeka.

The storm kept weakening with time, even lost much of its radar visible rotation before it came into town. The radar signature of the storm even weakened so much that it was determined to not be a hail or wind threat. Our spotters weren't seeing anything significant either some saying they saw a possible lowering but no rotation. The cloud bases were very low and light was fading so visibility was not ideal.

We received a call around 925pm from the public, near Lyman road who said they had seen a brief touchdown with some debris but it had already lifted. By this time the storm had weakened further so the decision was made to not issue a tornado warning.

That's what happened.

On rare occasions, small weak tornadoes are difficult if nearly impossible to see on radar. We are thankful that no one was injured by the tree damage that occurred and want to re-iterate that we take our mission of providing warnings for the protection of life and property with the utmost seriousness.

We are getting ready for more severe weather this afternoon and evening so please be aware of that potential as you make plans for any outdoor activities this evening.

NWS Topeka


631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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