Major Tornado, Hail and Fire Day in the Central USA

This has been a major weather day throughout the central third of the United States. We'll begin with the wildfires. 

Major fires have been reported in both Kansas and Oklahoma. The "Cottonwood Complex Fires" northwest of Wichita have burned a number of buildings, the exact number is undetermined. KWCH TV news is continually updating the story, here. There are reports the station has received fire damage to its transmitter facility. These fires are expected by officials to be a "multi-day event." 

Brandon Ivey posted video of the fires in Kansas. 

In Oklahoma, as of this time, the City of Mulhall is threatened by a major wildfire. That story is here

Tornado Outbreak in Iowa
Here is the tornado forecast for the rest of the night. The brown area has a significant risk of tornadoes. 
Please follow local sources of information for the latest storm warnings. I am not live-tweeting the storms this evening as I did it for five hours this afternoon due to issues with the NWS's tornado warning dissemination. More on that below.

Here are the rotation tracks as of 7pm. In areas where you see blue and white it is highly likely where a tornado was occurring. News stories about the tornadoes are here. Click to enlarge the maps.

There was considerable damage in central Iowa. Here is a closeup of the storm's track.
Here is drone video from the Winterset area, southwest of Des Moines. At 9:15, this came across my Twitter feed. 

And, a closeup of the tornado's track through the Des Moines metro. 

Below are the hail tracks to 7pm. Hail size in millimeters.

The issues with NWS tornado warnings continue to worsen, in spite of the NWS's denial. The reason why I was furiously tweeting tornado warnings for 5+ hours was because the Des Moines office could not transmit its tornado warnings on a timely basis. For much of the afternoon, they were solely able to generate Spanish language tornado warnings (no English).

Below is a list of the tornado warning delays. Considering the storms were moving northeast at 50 mph, a 9 minute delay meant the tornado had traveled eight miles before the tornado warning was received. 
These worsening problems are absolutely unacceptable. The situation is so bad the NWS has stopped doing its "Service Assessments" -- after-the-fact summaries of how well it performed in a situation like today. These were always weak tea, and badly biased in favor of the NWS (they were performed by NWS employees), but any honest assessment these days would often be abysmal. So, they have stopped doing them. 

The NWS is between directors at the present time and the NOAA director -- as usual for the past nearly 50 years -- knows nothing about meteorology. The American Meteorological Society used to be helpful as a "mediator" in these situation but they, in January, appointed an executive director who has no background in meteorology!

Given the war and the innumerable problems in our nation, I don't know from where the impetus to fix this will come. I hope it can somehow get fixed before there is another Joplin -- where more than 100 people needlessly die because of NWS tornado warning difficulties. 


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