Weather Blog - A Look Back At The May 4, 2003 Tornado

Tornado May 4 2003.png
Posted at 7:48 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 11:42:26-04

Good morning bloggers,

18 years ago today Kansas City had a very bad tornado. It was close to an EF-4 tornado with nearly 200 mph winds, or possibly stronger. The tornado touched down Near Linwood, KS and then grew into a monster tornado near the Legend's, where the Nebraska Furniture Mart was still being built. The Woodland's Racetrack closed in 2008, but we got this incredible footage from their Surveillance camera showing the tornado as it was crossing the Legends and strengthening over Kansas City, KS. It ended up crossing the Missouri River and blasting neighborhoods in Gladstone and Liberty before lifting. Two people died in the storm. Here is a picture from the Woodland's Surveillance camera:

Tornado Near Legend's In Kansas City, KS May 4, 2003

Our weather team at 41 Action News was all over this set up that day. I had our entire team at the station at noon. We had crews out in the field. Meteorologist Brett Anthony was out live chasing, our morning meteorologist at the time, "I saw it, it was huge". The first ever Tornado Emergency was issued by the National Weather Service that day, and I remember reading that on the air.

That was a wild week of weather with many other severe weather days. Lawrence, KS was hit by a tornado on May 8, 2003. And, now here we are in KC and if we make it three more weeks to May 28th, it will have been two full years without even one Tornado Watch in Kansas City. I am expecting and forecasting two or three chances in these next three weeks. For now, the risks continue to target the southeastern USA.

Today's Severe Weather Risk:

Severe Weather Risks Today

Louisiana to western Georgia is again the target. There has already been around 70 tornadoes in Alabama in 2021. In fact, Alabama is up to 71 tornadoes and Kansas has had 2. Yes, only TWO tornadoes so far this year. Now, this can change fast, so let's keep monitoring these set ups.

There is a rather interesting set up developing for this weekend. There will be a large temperature contrast from 50s over northern Missouri to 80s just to our southwest. This is potentially a set up for some violent thunderstorms, especially the first ones that form. Here is how it looks for Saturday evening.

Saturday Evening Forecast

I will be working on an in-depth forecast for tonight on 41 Action News. For now, let's enjoy the sunshine as it comes out this afternoon.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: A few light rain showers this morning, then becoming sunny with a high of 64° this afternoon.
  • Tonight: Clear and cool. Low: 41°
  • Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Light winds. High: 65°

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Gabbing With Gary blog. Have a great Tuesday.