Deadly Kirksville, MO Tornado Wrapup

5/14/09, Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

Nasty storms tore through the Midwest on Wednesday evening, producing large hail and deadly tornadoes.  Below is a summary of the event provided by the National Weather Service in Kansas City:

....May 13, 2009 Tornado and Large Hail Event...


Damage surveys conducted by National Weather Service in conjunction with emergency management have found evidence of three tornadoes from storms in Sullivan and Adair counties which struck on May 13, 2009. All tornadoes appeared to have been produced by the same supercell thunderstorm.


1) The first tornado to form touched down just north Milan, Missouri and proceeded east where it destroyed a mobile home killing a female occupant. The tornado continued eastward for a few more miles damaging numerous trees for before lifting. The damage produced by this tornado indicates it was of EF-1 strength.


2) The second tornado to form touched down approximately 5 miles west of Novinger near Highway 149. This tornado destroyed a house and an out building west of Novinger before destroying a mobile home, and producing additional power line and minor building damage on the south side of Novinger. The tornado paralleled highway 6 east of Novinger, damaging numerous power poles for a few more miles before lifting. This tornado produced EF-1 damage along its track.


3) The third tornado produced by this storm touched down about 2 miles west northwest of Kirksville and moved eastward through the northern part of the city. This tornado killed two people just northwest of Kirksville and went on to produce EF-1 damage to several structures in northern Kirksville including damage to a car dealership and several homes. Initially damage found east of Kirksville was thought to be the result of a separate tornado, however further analysis of the damage path shows that the tornado which struck northern Kirksville continued eastward into a rural area and strengthened. Several farmsteads were struck by this tornado east of Kirksville and at one point the tornado produced EF-2 damage.

Aerial surveys conducted by law enforcement indicated the tornado finally lifted before reaching Clay, Missouri.Additionally, there were several eye witness accounts of smaller satellite tornadoes occurring at the same time as the larger main tornadoes. Damage from these potential satellite tornadoes was not found, however the existence of these tornadoes is quite plausible.

GMT Time County Location Type Magnitude Comment
05/13/2009 21:55 Livingston 1 N Chillicothe,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/13/2009 21:55 Lyon Se Reading,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/13/2009 22:00 Sullivan 1 N Milan,MO FUNNEL CLOUD 0  
05/13/2009 22:05 Osage 4 Ene Reading,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 22:07 Osage 6 N Lebo,KS HAIL 1.25  
05/13/2009 22:10 Sullivan 1 N Milan,MO TORNADO 0 possible tornado with reports of power outages in sullivan county.
05/13/2009 22:16 Coffey Lebo,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 22:21 Coffey 4 S Olivet,KS HAIL 0.75  
05/13/2009 22:22 Osage 1 W Olivet,KS HAIL 0.75  
05/13/2009 22:23 Osage 1 W Olivet,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 22:26 Coffey 4 S Olivet,KS HAIL 1.25  
05/13/2009 22:28 Sullivan 2 Sw Green City,MO TORNADO 0 cone tornado southwest of green city
05/13/2009 22:29 Coffey 7 E Lebo,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/13/2009 22:30 Sullivan 1 S Green City,MO TORNADO 0 large tornado reported on the ground just south of green city.
05/13/2009 22:30 Linn 2 N Linneus,MO TSTM WND DMG 0 trailer destroyed. possible tornado. time and location estimated based on radar.
05/13/2009 22:32 Osage 1 S Melvern,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/13/2009 22:35 Sullivan 4 Sw Milan,MO TORNADO 0 damage to a mobile home on y hwy.
05/13/2009 22:35 Sullivan 4 Ne Milan,MO TORNADO 0 damage to a mobile home on y hwy. corrected for location.
05/13/2009 22:35 Osage 3 S Melvern,KS HAIL 2  
05/13/2009 22:40 Adair 6 Ese Green City,MO FUNNEL CLOUD 0  
05/13/2009 22:40 Coffey 5 Sw Waverly,KS HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 22:40 Osage 4 E Melvern,KS HAIL 1.25  
05/13/2009 22:43 Adair 5 W Novinger,MO TORNADO 0  
05/13/2009 22:44 Coffey 8 N Burlington,KS HAIL 1.5  
05/13/2009 22:46 Adair 3 W Novinger,MO TORNADO 0 damage to a house at route 6 and campbell cemetery rd. time approximated.
05/13/2009 22:48 Adair Novinger,MO TORNADO 0 tornado spotted near novinger...approximate width of 1/4 to 1/2 mile.
05/13/2009 22:50 Adair 5 S Kirksville,MO FUNNEL CLOUD 0  
05/13/2009 22:52 Coffey 9 Ne Burlington,KS TORNADO 0 kmbc helicopter and the public observed a brief tornado.
05/13/2009 23:00 Coffey 6 Sw Harris,KS TORNADO 0 took video of a brief tornado near the coffey and anderson county line. was on the ground for less than a minute.
05/13/2009 23:07 Ray 11 Nne Richmond,MO HAIL 1.5  
05/13/2009 23:10 Anderson 1 Nnw Garnett,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 23:10 Coffey 5 N Westphalia,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 23:10 Linn 10 N Bucklin,MO HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 23:11 Adair 1 N Kirksville,MO TORNADO 0 significant damage and injuries reported 1/2 mile north of kirksville.
05/13/2009 23:16 Adair 7 Ene Kirksville,MO TORNADO 0 damage reported.
05/13/2009 23:16 Coffey 3 Wnw Westphalia,KS HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 23:16 Coffey 3 Nw Westphalia,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 23:18 Adair 1 N Kirksville,MO TORNADO 0 major damage reported in north kirksville with homes damaged and cars flipped over.
05/13/2009 23:20 Anderson 1 W Westphalia,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/13/2009 23:26 Jackson Grain Valley,MO HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 23:27 Linn 2 N Bucklin,MO HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 23:35 Lafayette Napoleon,MO HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 23:45 Linn 5 Nnw Blue Mound,KS HAIL 1  
05/13/2009 23:55 Macon Atlanta,MO HAIL 0.88  
05/13/2009 23:59 Anderson 3 Sw Kincaid,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/14/2009 00:01 Anderson 2 W Kincaid,KS HAIL 1.75  
05/14/2009 00:15 Carroll Norborne,MO HAIL 1.5  
05/14/2009 00:36 Macon 2 Ne Macon,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/14/2009 00:40 Linn 6 Nnw Blue Mound,KS HEAVY RAIN 2.18 co-op observer measured 2.18 in of rain in one hour.
05/14/2009 00:45 Johnson 4 N Warrensburg,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/14/2009 00:45 Johnson 8 Nne Warrensburg,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/14/2009 00:58 Johnson Warrensburg,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/14/2009 01:00 Johnson 4 E Warrensburg,MO HAIL 1.5  
05/14/2009 01:00 Johnson 1 S Warrensburg,MO HAIL 1  
05/14/2009 01:05 Johnson 4 S Warrensburg,MO HAIL 1  
05/14/2009 01:15 Johnson 1 N Whiteman Afb,MO HAIL 0.75  
05/14/2009 01:43 Pettis 2 S Sedalia,MO TSTM WND GST 50



  Radar Images


Supercell thunderstorm associated with a tornado near Milan, Missouri Supercell thunderstorm associated with a tornado near Novinger, Missouri

Supercell thunderstorm associated with a tornado northeast of Burlington, KS


  ...Tornado Photos Courtesy of KTVO...


Tornado Images in Adair County near Kirksville Courtesy of KTVO



Damage photos in Adair County near Kirksville
National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos
National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos
National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill Damage Survey Photos

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on May 17, 2009 at 04:40 PM
    Love to see the great video, but hate when it comes from someone not being safe and responsible. That kind of video only makes unsafe chasers more thirsty to do the same thing. Not a good thing... Thanks for checking in, Tim.
  • by Tim Location: C.Springs on May 15, 2009 at 02:36 PM
    Good wrap up Brian. Thank you for not posting video. I saw the video you showed on air last night, and I enjoyed the responsible approach to showing it rather than the extreme "pump it up" angle we're seeing from other media outlets. There were several videos making the rounds yesterday morning which made my skin crawl from the perception it could leave on the public and law enforcement about storm chasing. I appreciated your words of caution. That being said, there was plenty of amazing video out there! Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storm.
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