Media Advisory 03-004

Mike Hudson
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service - Kansas City/Pleasant Hill, MO

National Weather Service Assigns Fujita Damage Ratings to May 4th Tornadoes in Miami, Cass, Johnson and Pettis Counties

A damage assessment team from the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, has performed a survey of tornadoes which struck Miami County in Kansas, and Cass, Johnson and Pettis Counties in Missouri on May 4, 2003. Results of the survey indicate four distinct tornado paths in these counties, and one of the tornadoes received a maximum intensity rating of F2 on the Fujita damage scale.

The first evidence of a tornado touchdown was noted near Black River Ranch on west 391st and Somerset, about 3 miles southwest of New Lancaster in rural Miami County. Damage was noted from the ranch approximately one half mile in length from the touchdown, with a width of 200 feet. Damage to ranch buildings was rated F1 on the Fujita damage scale. Intermittent F0 damage was noted further north and east into southwest Cass County before the path of the tornado ended.

A second tornado touched down just southwest of the corner of east 299th Street and Sycamore Grove Road in northeast Cass County. The tornado damage path was approximately 860 feet before it briefly lifted before crossing Missouri Route 7. The tornado touched down again near Z highway and Route 7, and had an intermittent path length of about 15 miles, to near the intersection of Missouri Route 131 and Missouri Route 2 in Johnson County, Missouri. Damage was noted along this path to about east 285th Street and Index Road, with emergency management visual reports for the remainder of the path. Eyewitness reports indicated this tornado had two vortices near Z Highway and Route 7. Damage was noted to residences near this intersection, with F1 damage to a farm house noted southwest of the intersection of east 238th Street and O'Bannon Road. The tornado produced F2 damage to a house about 1/8 mile south of the aforementioned intersection. Damage of F0 to F1 intensity was noted for the remainder of this tornado's path.

The third tornado touchdown was observed about a half mile northwest of the intersection of of SE 401st Road and SE 300th Road, or near the city landfill. Damage of F1 intensity was noted at this location to a private business. The tornado continued northeast to near Whiteman Air Force Base before dissipating. Damage along the path was rated F0 through this area. The tornado was confirmed by weather observers at Whiteman.

The fourth tornado briefly touched down in rural western Pettis County near Buckley Road and Guier Road. A pole barn was destroyed, with a boat thrown about an eighth of a mile and some fence damage. This tornado was also rated F0.

Graphical maps of these tornado paths, annotate with Fujita damage assessments, will be posted within the next day or two on the Pleasant Hill web site found at,