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Information About the April 14-15, 2012
Great Plains Severe Weather Outbreak

 Map of the Approximate Tornado Tracks for the April 14, 2012 Severe Weather Outbreak

Overview

A severe weather outbreak occurred on the afternoon and evening of Saturday April 14th, 2012 across Kansas and northwest Oklahoma. Multiple tornadoes, including a few that were strong, very large hail and damaging winds accompanied the supercells that formed through the afternoon and evening. Over a dozen tornadoes occurred in northwest Oklahoma in addition to the numerous tornadoes in Kansas.

Much of Oklahoma remained under clear skies for the afternoon, which coupled with plentiful moisture allowed very strong instability to develop. A dryline stretched from western Kansas into northwest and western Oklahoma through the afternoon hours. Thunderstorms ignited off the dryline in the early afternoon, with the first severe weather reports around 230pm. The first tornado was not reported until nearly 4pm as low level wind shear increased gradually. The tornado reports continued through nearly 1am with the tornado that impacted Woodward, OK the last tornado of the evening.

With the first supercells firing around 2 PM, many dropped large hail, some as large as 3 inches in diameter. Many brief tornado touchdowns were reported as well, with the initial reports north of Woodward, OK. Additional supercells developed through the afternoon with a prominent tornadic supercell developing near Waynoka, Oklahoma. This supercell produced multiple tornadoes near Cherokee and continued moving to the northeast. One tornado with this supercell produced damage to a cemetery west of Byron. Fortunately, many of the tornadoes from this thunderstorm remained over mainly rural areas in Waynoka, Woods and Alfalfa counties.

Another tornadic supercell developed southwest of Woodward before midnight and tracked toward Woodward. The Woodward tornado began around 1150 PM roughly 3 miles northeast of Arnett and moved northeast into Woodward county. The southwest city limits of Woodward were impacted near 1218 AM on Sunday April 15th, 2012 and the tornado finally exited the north-northwest side of Woodward around 1223 AM. The tornado dissipated shortly afterward, 4 miles north of Woodward. Sadly, 6 fatalities were reported with the tornado that impacted Woodward. The tornado was rated as an EF-3.

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