2003-05-04 KS/MO/OK outbreak

Jul 8, 2004
302
1
5
42
Miami, Oklahoma
I don't know it it's on You Tube or not, but Tim Marshall's video from that intersection in Franklin is amazing! This day makes me wish I started chasing a couple years earlier. I started chasing in 2004 partly due to this historic outbreak that was very close to home. The Girard, KS wedge video on You Tube is amazing as well.

I looked at the archvies and apparently a wedge tornado (800) yards wide in the database touched down about 7-8 miles south of my where I live in Miami. From what I know there is no pics or video of it, but it's in the database. I knew nothing during this time about chasing. I went to the town of Bluejacket SW of Miami and heard the tornado sirens going off and getting into some small hail. I head back north towards Miami. If I knew anything about chasing at the time I would have head south instead and may have seen the tornado. This was the same storm that went on to hit Pierce City, MO. Actually I think this storm merged with another one and hit Pierce City if I recall correctly.

Here is a google map link to the path the tornado apparently took south of Miami and just north of Fairland. If anybody saw this or has any details I would love to hear them!
http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/index.php?yr=2003&mo=5&day=4&st=Oklahoma&fu=%25&co=Ottawa&l=auto&submit=Map&dtor=on&ddat=on&dsta=on&dfuj=on&dfat=on&dinj=on&dcou=on&format=basic&p=1&s=1
 

Nathan Withrow

I think I can take part in this post, lol! I remember this day very well because It was a part of my life. I lived in Girard, KS at the time that F4 came so close. I was standing outside in my backyard watching the rotation on that storm and the debris cloud. Did not see the tornado because of houses and trees in the way of my view, and off to the basement my family and I went. It was one amazing moment in my life.
 
Apr 10, 2008
460
120
11
Tulsa, OK
www.facebook.com
I looked at the archvies and apparently a wedge tornado (800) yards wide in the database touched down about 7-8 miles south of my where I live in Miami. From what I know there is no pics or video of it, but it's in the database. I knew nothing during this time about chasing. I went to the town of Bluejacket SW of Miami and heard the tornado sirens going off and getting into some small hail. I head back north towards Miami. If I knew anything about chasing at the time I would have head south instead and may have seen the tornado. This was the same storm that went on to hit Pierce City, MO. Actually I think this storm merged with another one and hit Pierce City if I recall correctly.

Here is a google map link to the path the tornado apparently took south of Miami and just north of Fairland. If anybody saw this or has any details I would love to hear them!
http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/index.php?yr=2003&mo=5&day=4&st=Oklahoma&fu=%&co=Ottawa&l=auto&submit=Map&dtor=on&ddat=on&dsta=on&dfuj=on&dfat=on&dinj=on&dcou=on&format=basic&p=1&s=1
I jumped on this storm when it was near Nowata and chased it across the northeast counties of OK into southwest MO.....losing the storm in Neosho due to a fuel stop. A supercell which behaved much like a left split raced north-northeast from the south and merged with the dominant supercell right as it crossed into MO. We never saw any indication the storm had produced a tornado south of Miami, however our view was obscured at times by the hook echo core as we had a hard time keeping up with the storm. As we gassed up in Neosho, MO we could see the wall cloud quickly organize to our east as the supercell raced away. The Pierce City tornado developed shortly after. It was an impressive storm, but was moving at nearly 40mph across difficult terrain which made for an arduous chase. I would love to have that day back.
 
I looked at the archvies and apparently a wedge tornado (800) yards wide in the database touched down about 7-8 miles south of my where I live in Miami. From what I know there is no pics or video of it, but it's in the database. I knew nothing during this time about chasing. I went to the town of Bluejacket SW of Miami and heard the tornado sirens going off and getting into some small hail. I head back north towards Miami. If I knew anything about chasing at the time I would have head south instead and may have seen the tornado. This was the same storm that went on to hit Pierce City, MO. Actually I think this storm merged with another one and hit Pierce City if I recall correctly.

Here is a google map link to the path the tornado apparently took south of Miami and just north of Fairland. If anybody saw this or has any details I would love to hear them!
http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/index.php?yr=2003&mo=5&day=4&st=Oklahoma&fu=%&co=Ottawa&l=auto&submit=Map&dtor=on&ddat=on&dsta=on&dfuj=on&dfat=on&dinj=on&dcou=on&format=basic&p=1&s=1
I am not sure that that particular cell was the same one that hit Pierce City. After leaving the Franklin/Girard cell, Randy Hicks and I dove south and jumped on 44 so we could get video back to TWC via Tulsa. We certainly saw the cell in question but from our vantage point we saw nothing that would indicate a wedge tornado. Of course I would need to go back over the time frame and then look at the time stamp on my video to make sure it matched up. I am not saying that there was not a tornado, I am just saying that from our vantage point we did not see one and we were more than close enough to have seen one I would think.
I do remember seeing a decent lower base but at that point we were moving away from it and decided that we were on a time crunch anyways.
 
Feb 21, 2010
77
0
0
Conway,Mo
I remember this day as it was yesterday.After seeing the forecasts models that morning,it was going to be a big day.This was actually the first F-4 I had ever recorded on video near Girard,Ks and continued to move with the storm into Mo..We ventured the next day into south central Mo to see the the damage path that had extended for over 100 miles.From Girard,Ks to Stockton,Mo and on through just south of Camdenton,Mo.It was crazy.
 
May 9, 2007
60
0
0
Scottsdale, AZ
Kathy and I flew in for this event. We didn't catch the Girard tornado but we caught a tornado near Whiteman Air Force base east of KC! I wish we hadn't gone so far north. The Girard tornado was one we really wished we'd seen. We were also in KC as the tornado warnings were going off, we never had a visual on that tornado either! At least we got the Whiteman, it was very exciting!!
 
Mar 10, 2010
116
0
0
Parsons, Kansas
I don't know it it's on You Tube or not, but Tim Marshall's video from that intersection in Franklin is amazing!
Anyone know if this video still exsits. My sisters house was obliterated by this storm and I would be interested in see this vid as it was likely taken only yards from her house. Kind of weird/strange... that the tornado first touched down not 2miles from my house. Crazy day.
 
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bvassmer

EF1
Apr 10, 2005
98
0
5
35
Newcastle, OK
www.vassmer.com
My father-in-law and I chased this day in NE OK, catching the tornado that hit outside of Vinita. You can see the photos of our chase here:

http://vassmer.com/stormchasing/2003/05-04/index.html

Photos of the structure of the storm are first, then the tornado (we thought it was just a funnel, as it never looked like it touched down). We didnt know it touched down until we came across the damage.

We considered trying to keep up with the storm, but I remember motions were bonkers, and there was no way to keep up.

 
Sep 26, 2007
71
0
5
T-Town, OK
I was in Pierce City, MO a couple of hours after it struck. I'm a paramedic and was invited to come help with triage. It turned out that I wasn't needed, but I still welcomed the opportunity because it was my first experience witnessing the aftermath of a tornado. (Since then, I've worked or otherwise been in quite a few, but this was my first).

One of the first sights I witnessed was a large boat lying in the middle of the street, partially blocking the road. I also saw a balcony ripped off a duplex, lying a short distance away. In itself, that wasn't so spectacular, but what struck me was that the plastic patio furniture was still standing upright on the deck. How is that even possible? I also saw and photographed a wooden 2x4 plank impaled through a concrete wall.

None of this is unique of course, but considering it was my first encounter with a tornado's damage, it left quite a first impression on me, and was a big reason why I became fascinated with meteorology and storm chasing.

As for Stockton, I basically grew up there during my teen years. I'm still amazed when I look at the level 2 data in GR2AE. The radar images are impressive, and (like Pierce City) the town took a direct hit.
Jason,

I flew my g/f (wife now) back home to Springfield from Tulsa two days later. We flew over Pierce City, and I was really struck how small Pierce City is, but that tornado just went right down main street with horrific damage. Just a couple of blocks either way, and the damage was much lighter.
 

STurner

EF2
Nov 21, 2008
182
1
0
Shawnee, KS 66217
Here are a few photos of the F4 tornado crossing into Missouri from SE Kansas...to the sw and w of the town of Liberal MO (Barton Co.) It went through several classic stages before roping out and missing the town of Liberal. Meanwhile several miles to the northeast, the Stockton MO long tracked tornado had just been born...


Looking very much like the Bridge Creek OK F5 at this point...


Tornado vortex constricts and remains very intense...sw of Liberal


Tornado weakening west of Liberal (looking north)
I do agree with you that the Girard/Franklin tornado did look like the Bridge Creek tornado at some points. It also looked very similar to the Red Rock, OK tornado on 4-26-91 at some points as well. Them three tornadoes were possibly the most violent tornadoes on our planet.
 

J Holder

EF2
Mar 30, 2005
129
8
6
Osage city, KS
Some of you guys that were on the Franklin, Ks tornado I got a question...

I drove through this area about a week afterward and I noticed that on K47 there appeared to be 2 separate damage paths as I was driving West on K47, from 69 highway, toward Girard. There was one path about 1/3 mile wide, then about a quarter mile of untouched area (several homes appeared free of damage) then another 1/3 mile plus of torn up trees and homes. Did anyone else notice this as well?
 

CGardner

EF0
Oct 11, 2011
26
2
1
Parsons, KS
That day was the influential beginning of my interest in supercells and tornadoes. A normal day of visiting old neighbors in Joplin, MO, ended up putting my 15 year old butt behind my parents vehicle driving 100 mph down I-44 trying to beat the Pierce City supercell home. Home was in Battlefield, MO, and the tornado missed us by a mile. I watched the Pierce City/Battlefield tornado rope out before it hit Springfield. It was the coolest, scariest rushes I ever had in my life.

The next moment was then the funniest as I watched my dad flip out and get down on his knees to thank God for guiding the tornado to not hit our house. Then he proceeding to thank the Lord for the beer. I got confused until I saw the intact 12 pack of Coor's light cans in our front yard by the tree. I knew the 12 pack had been picked up because of the leaf debris on it. Dad grabbed a can and offered me one, but I refused. I then tried to warn him that he shouldn't open a can, but before I could say that, he opened a can.

It exploded in his face and he ended up covered in beer. But, like any tornado that goes through a city you grow up in. It was very sad to go to friend's houses where you played as a kid and help pick up the pieces. Or go to friend's house not knowing if he is still alive in the mess of debris that lays before you. My biggest thrill wasn't beating the storm home, or watching the tornado. It was knowing I helped a community rebuild, and knowing my good friends that I grew up with were alive and alright.
 
Mar 23, 2013
269
95
11
Denver, CO
This was the first time a tornado ever directly impacted me and my family. Dad's work (America's Body Company - Scherer Truck Division in Riverside, Missouri) took a direct hit from the F-4 that struck that day.

That tornado tossed dump beds around like they were tonka toys, damaged all 500 light duty pickups (fords, chevys and dodges) in the back lot and every single one of them was totaled out. It twisted i-beams, and brought down the massive shop that once stood. This division of the company closed their doors forever after this tornado, and left my father and many other families of employees with no job, no severance, only receiving any accrued vacation and sick time. It forever changed the course of my life as well as my dad's. 3 years later my folks ended up moving to Tennessee September of 2006. I followed in 2007. Interestingly enough, that tornado just might have been the opportunity that allowed me to get into college...hard to say, but I guess it depends on how you look at it. If that tornado never hits, my parents never move to Tennessee and I never follow or get into college at Middle Tennessee State University. Kind of weird, how every dark cloud, you can find the silver lining in.

Here's a few pics from that of Dad's work.















 
Some of you guys that were on the Franklin, Ks tornado I got a question...

I drove through this area about a week afterward and I noticed that on K47 there appeared to be 2 separate damage paths as I was driving West on K47, from 69 highway, toward Girard. There was one path about 1/3 mile wide, then about a quarter mile of untouched area (several homes appeared free of damage) then another 1/3 mile plus of torn up trees and homes. Did anyone else notice this as well?
I know you asked this question some time ago but just now seeing it and wanted to reply. It is possible that there was a smaller secondary tornado (I cannot confirm this as we just didn't have the angle after losing ground to the tornado) But, having felt the RFD south west of your location, I know it was very destructive and would not be surprised if the damage you saw was due to the RFD.
 
Feb 14, 2005
879
21
11
Charleston, South Carolina
Oh, I remember this one quite well. My mom and sister were in Pittsburg, KS at the time and took cover in the elementary school building for what seemed like forever. One other thing, TWC was out covering this and and I remember they were in front of a Chicken Annies. But, I'm not sure which Chicken Annies it was (there are 3-4 in the area.) It might have been Chicken Annies - Girard but I'm not sure because the shot of the surroundings was so brief. Does anyone remember this?
 
One other thing, TWC was out covering this and and I remember they were in front of a Chicken Annies. But, I'm not sure which Chicken Annies it was (there are 3-4 in the area.) It might have been Chicken Annies - Girard but I'm not sure because the shot of the surroundings was so brief. Does anyone remember this?
Mike, I believe you have this event mixed up possibly with the Joplin event. TWC was NOT out on the May 4 2003 event, at least not during the event. They certainly were not in the SE Kansas area during the event. Afterwards they may have been - I don't know. Admittedly though, I stopped watching TWC back in 2008-2008.
 
Feb 14, 2005
879
21
11
Charleston, South Carolina
Yes, it was this event. Finally verified it by calling my mom this morning. TWC was there and was stationed out in front of the Chicken Annies of Girard. My mom and her friend drove up to see the damage in Franklin the next day. Also, I had a cousin whose house was destroyed by the tornado in the tiny town of Mulberrry, KS.