KSN Storm Track 3 Digital Extra: Breaking down the ‘QLCS’ tornado and our recent round of severe weather

Weather Stories

Last week we faced back-to-back storm systems. The second in the series produced widespread severe weather last Tuesday night that lingered into the early morning hours of Wednesday, prompting Tornado Watches and several Tornado Warnings.

Hard to believe with it being October that we faced such an outbreak of tornadoes. If the right ingredients come together, nature does not care about the month nor season. The night of October 12, we encountered 8 tornadoes!

These types of tornadoes were different than what you would typically think of with a supercell. Instead, these are classified as “QLCS” tornadoes.

“QLCS” stands for quasi-linear convective system.

Individual storms quickly evolved into a squall line where one storm was lined up after another like the carts of a train through western Kansas early in the evening. This line of storms moved fast to the east. Along this line, our weather team closely monitored the winds and how they were moving in relation to the closest doppler radar. “QLCS” tornadoes form quickly with little warning. They spin up ahead of this line. They are weaker and short-lived. Only about 20% of tornadoes are classified as “QLCS” in nature.

Damage surveys done after this night revealed damage intensity between EF-0 and EF-1 which is expected from these types of tornadoes.

Winds maxed out at 110 MPH in the stronger tornadoes.

Most “QLCS” tornadoes also happen after dark through the overnight with limited visibility. Meteorologist Erika Paige tracked the storms in Storm Tracker 3 that evening. With her training and knowledge about these types of storms, she was able to pinpoint one of these “QLCS” tornadoes between Cimarron and Dodge City.

Whenever our area is placed under a Tornado Watch, always make sure you are watching and taking each warning seriously. Thankfully, nobody was injured during this severe weather event as storms raced to the east through early Wednesday morning.

–Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman

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