Tornado at peak strength at 9:51 PM.
|Date||May 30, 2024|
|Touchdown location||9:03 PM CDT|
240 mph (estimated)
|Damage||$2.4 billion (2024 USD)|
|Areas affected||Liberal, Kansas Area|
|Part of the|
Tornadoes of 2024
The 2024 Liberal, Kansas tornado was a deadly, long-tracked, and very violent EF5-rated tornado which cut through far southwestern Kansas late in the evening of Thursday, May 30, 2024. Part of the 2024 Super Outbreak, the tornado touched down at 9:03 PM CDT to the southeast of Rolla in Morton County, then tracked almost due east at 45 miles per hour. The tornado fluctuated widely along its path from EF2 to EF5 strength, cutting through the city of Liberal itself at mid-range to high-end EF4 strength, then reaching EF5 strength at two separate points in rural Seward County to the east of Liberal. The tornado dissipated in the rural township of Sand Creek in Meade County at 10:31 PM.
Remaining on the ground for 1 hour and 28 minutes over a 65.10-mile path, the tornado was responsible for a total of 26 fatalities and 116 injuries. The tornado initially received an EF5 rating based on damage within Liberal itself; however, later damage surveys conducted in June of 2024 determined that many of the obliterated houses in Liberal were poorly built, and the tornado's rating was downgraded to EF4 as a result. In July 2024, a tertiary damage survey upgraded the Liberal tornado's rating back to EF5 based on damage in rural Seweard County to the east of Liberal; the tornado's peak winds were estimated at 240 miles per hour.
Though likely less intense than several of the other EF5 tornadoes in the 2024 Super Outbreak, the Liberal tornado's greatest damage was described in official surveys as being "comparable in severity to much of the damage left by the Oklahoma City Metro tornado of 1999".