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2038 Kansas City-Dodge City-Topeka, Kansas tornado
EF5 tornado (NWS)
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Date June 7-8, 2038
Times 1550 - 0020 CDT
Touchdown location On the outskirts of Kansas City, Kansas
Injuries 2250
Fatalities 201
Damage $84.21 billion
Areas affected Kansas City, Dodge City and Topeka, Kansas
Part of the
2038 tornado season

The 2038 Kansas City-Dodge City-Topeka, Kansas tornado was an extremely deadly, violent and destructive EF5 tornado that developed at 1500 CDT on June 7, 2038 on the outskirts of Kansas City. The tornado proceeded to cause excessive damage in that city, before making a beeline for Dodge City, where the first of two tornado emergencies was issued for the storm, where it caused EF5 damage. Winds in the area were recorded at 300 mph, the 2nd highest recorded, and the violent storm obliterated well built, anchored brick buildings in the area before moving on and claiming 52 lives in this city alone. About an hour later, another tornado emergency was issued for Topeka, which highlighted some of the reports coming out of Kansas City and Dodge City, and very strongly telling residents to take cover or die. The tornado caused 201 deaths overall, and $24 billion in damages, ranking it not only as one of the most deadliest tornadoes ever documented, but also the costliest by far. The areas devestated by this once in a lifetime event took years to rebuild their lives and properties, with an increase in the reporting of PTSD and other related mental health disorders increasing dramatically following the event.


Synopsis

The tornado was spawned by a larger system that had developed the day before over the Rockies. As the low moved towards Kansas, it suddenly deepened to 985 mbar, and and became established with a dryline, spawning several severe thunderstorms in the process over the state. By 0600 UTC on June 7th, the SPC had issued a PDS for both severe thunderstorms and tornadoes over Kansas, stating that "storms forming over Kansas today will be unusually intense, and may be able to produce tornadoes of EF5 intensity. If a warning is issued for your area, its a case of take cover or die. Its very rare these warnings are issued, but this is a high risk situation, and should not be messed with". As the day wore on, the anticipated supercellular storms began to develop rapidly, and by 1500 CDT, the local NWS office had issued a PDS tornado warning, stating "radar imagery this afternoon has located a well developed, extremely well defined hook echo. Dopplar radar imagery from inside the storm is showing violent rotation within a developing, well defined wall cloud. This tornado will almost certainly be an EF4 at least, so dont gamble with your life, take cover immediately!".

At 1550, a large funnel cloud touched down near Kansas City, wreaking havoc on the city, which took EF4 damage. Moving out of the city, the tornado continued to rapidly intensify, and reached EF5 intensity as it left the city. By this point, Dodge City had declared a tornado emergency, stating "A very large, very intense, and very dangerous tornado is on the ground near Dodge City, and is producing EF5 damage. The tornado is moving very slowly and erratically, and will pass through this area in approximately 12 minutes. Take cover NOW! If you are caught outside during this storm, you will face the risk of certain death. Be aware of flying projectiles, and try to take cover in an underground shelter if possible. Do not mess with this storm."

By 1915, the tornado had crossed into Dodge City, completely obliterating well built and anchored structures across the city, and claiming 122 lives there before moving on and continuing its destruction.

By 0000, the tornado had weakened to an EF4 as it began to affect the outer suburbs of Topeka, weakening slowly as its parent supercell began to run out of energy. By 0012, the storm had weakened to EF2 strength as it became wrapped up in the locally dry air in the area caused by a lack of rain. As the tornado approached, another tornado emergency was declared, this time stating "a very large, violent tornado is causing at least EF4 damage on the outskirts of the city of Topeka. It is entirely possible that the tornado may go downtown, which may allow for the system to deal astronomical amounts of damage. Latest Dopplar radar images of the storm show a well defined debris ball inside a poorly defined hook echo. This likely suggests the storm is weakening as it approaches. The tornado is already in the outer suburbs of the city, so take cover immediately. Reports from other areas hit by the tornado include the total obliteration of well built and anchored buildings, deep ground scouring, softball sized hail and large projectiles associated with this rain wrapped system. This emergency will last 20 minutes, due to the slow moving, erratic nature of the storm".

At 0000, as the tornado reached downtown, dry air was finally able to pull its circulation apart, and the tornado lifted. Severe thunderstorms continued in the area for 15 more minutes, before the supercell finally died out.

Aftermath and recovery

In the aftermath of the tornado, the US President issued a state of emergency for all of the areas affected by the tornado, allowing residents and organisations in the area to apply for aid.

In Kansas City, it took 5 weeks to remove the debris left behind by the tornado, before local builders began the 10 year task of rebuilding the areas hit. The newer buildings were built to withstand 165 mph winds, the equivalent of the tornado as it passed through the city as an EF4. A memorial service for the 27 victims of the storm was held that Sunday.

In Dodge City, which took the tornado at peak strength, it took the help of international aid to clear the debris and set up makeshift shelter whilst the debris was removed and new homes built. Theoretically, the new buildings in Dodge City can now withstand winds of upto 233 mph, and are each fitted with an underground tornado bunker. A memorial service was also held for the 122 victims of the tornado in this area.

In Topeka, another memorial service was held for the 52 people that died during the disaster, and homes that were destroyed were rebuilt to withstand 130 mph winds, the equivalent of an EF3 tornado. Rebuilding the areas hit by the tornado took 7 years, at a cost of $22 billion.

In all, the entire country came together the following Sunday in respect for the 201 victims of the disaster, and the American Red Cross raised $52 million in tornado relief funds for those areas hit by the tornado.

Rating issues

The NWS SPC rated the tornado as an EF5, the top level of the scale, however, the Kansas public wasnt happy about that,as they felt a higher category needed to be applied to the storm. In fact, the SPC eventually had to issue a statement to local NWS offices saying "It is impossible to rate the tornado above EF5, because nothing can exceed total destruction". But the rating dispute continued, with one newspaper saying "due to the extreme nature of this tornado, it should have become the first ever EF6. Therefore, an EF6 ranking must be applied to this particular storm as a result".

The NWS stayed adamant with its case though, and eventually, the media gave up, allowing the EF5 rating to stay with the storm on official record documents.

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