Small tornadoes called landspouts touched down in Finney and Lane counties within about 20 minutes of each other Friday afternoon, sending sirens blaring in Garden City.

The Garden City Police Department sounds the sirens throughout Garden City and Holcomb if funnels begin to descend, regardless of whether the area is in a tornado watch or not, said Sgt. Lana Urteaga. After hearing that a tornado was on the ground, the department initiated the sirens at about 4:45 p.m. and warned residents of the danger on Facebook, she said.

Finney County was experiencing a thunderstorm warning but not a tornado warning or watch.

“(Weather) can change very quickly. Because you never know how long a tornado will be on the ground and what direction it will go, it’s best to inform everyone of the threat. The City itself was not in immediate danger, but sirens were sounded so people were aware that there was a tornado spotted in Finney County,” Urteaga said in an email.

Landspouts from the same storm process made contact in Finney County near Jennie Barker Road and Tennis Road, Urteaga said, as well as in west Lane County, all of which remained over farmland, said Mike Umscheid, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Dodge City. Urteaga said there were reports of two landspouts at the same location in Finney County.

The small, low-intensity tornadoes are generally short-lived and move slowly and sparingly, if at all, Umscheid said. The systems are hard for the National Weather Service to predict or warn others about since they are not easily spotted on radar, he said. He said they are fairly common for Kansas in the summer.

“They just kind of meander over real small real estate. It’s much bigger bark than bite ... ” Umscheid said about landspouts. “They absolutely are (dangerous). After all, it’s still a tornado and they can still cause quite a bit of damage. But, it doesn’t cover a lot of ground. They don’t move hardly much at all.”

The NWS did not have information regarding how long either landspout was on the ground, Umscheid said.

According to the GCPD, neither the GCPD nor Finney County Sheriff’s Office received any distress calls regarding the incident, and the NWS did not have any reports of injuries or serious damage.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.