Photos: Severe storms break tornado drought in Kansas, possibly Oklahoma

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 02, 2018, 3:40:36 AM EDT

The month of May started off with a bang as severe thunderstorms containing large hail and tornadoes struck the central Plains on Tuesday and Tuesday night.

More than one dozen preliminary tornadoes were reported, most of which occurred in Kansas. This marks the first time this year that tornadoes touched down in the state.

While this is unusually late for the first tornado of the year in Kansas, it does not break the record for the state’s latest occurrence, which stands at May 28, 1980.

Farther south, Oklahoma may have also ended its abnormally quiet start to the severe weather season.

A possible tornado was reported near Buffalo, Oklahoma, right around the Kansas-Oklahoma border. If this preliminary report is confirmed, May 1, 2018 would mark the latest start to the tornado season in the state’s history.

Prior to 2018, the latest start to the tornado season in Oklahoma was on April 26, 1962.

Fortunately, many of the tornadoes occurred in sparsely populated areas, limiting the amount of damage inflicted by the storms.


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A large number of the storms also produced hail up to the size of baseballs. Pictures on social media showed car windows smashed as a result of the massive hailstones.

The slow-moving nature of the storm that triggered Tuesday’s severe weather will mean that many of the same areas of the central Plains will be at risk for more violent weather on Wednesday. There may be a larger number of tornadoes this day.

People farther east toward the Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes and even the Northeast are also being put on alert for possible severe weather late in the week.

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Hail larger than baseballs near Wilson, Kansas. (Photo/Cody Frye)


A funnel cloud near Ellsworth, Kansas. (Photo/Blake Naftel)

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A large tornado near Tescott, Kansas, on Tuesday evening. (Photo/Blake Naftel)

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Hail larger than baseballs near Wilson, Kansas. (Photo/Cody Frye)

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A severe thunderstorm in Kansas on Tuesday evening. (Photo/Jonathan Petramala)

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