It turns out to be pretty difficult to find the records for wind gust in Kansas. But the record hail stone, that we can tell you about. First, let’s talk about the types of thunderstorm:
The Science of Wind and Hail
Of all the severe weather risks, hail produces the most damage in Kansas in terms of property loss. While we have not had a major hail storm in the state in around a decade, we’ve had several multi-billion dollar storms since 2000. According to https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records, the largest hail stone can be measured in three ways.
- Weight: 1.65lb, in Coffeyville Sept. 3 1970
- Circumference: 17.6 inches, in Coffeyville Sept. 3, 1970
- Diameter: 7.75 inches, in Wichita Sept 15, 2010.
Notice a pattern here? The largest hail stones typically occur later in the year than the tornado threat. This is because late summer storms tend to be more vertically-oriented than spring storms, which generally have a tilt when viewed from the side. So they can be efficient in tossing stones up multiple times and growing them to the larger sizes.
Neither I nor the Wichita NWS office were able to locate records of the peak thunderstorm wind gust reported in Kansas. But we know the largest wind threat comes from squall line systems and derechos. The December Wind Storm last year was a derecho event. A squall line system with embedded funnels produced a measured 93 mile an hour wind gust at the Pratt airport a few years ago, leading to extensive pole damage, an overturned semi, and building damage in Iuka. Straight line wind tends to become the greater risk in late-spring and early-summer storms.
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