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2026 Sabetha, Kansas tornado
EF5 tornado
Potter County tornado

Tornado at peak strength at 9:02 PM.
Date June 11, 2026
Times 2031-2143
Touchdown location 8:31 PM CDT
Highest winds

300 mph (estimated)

Injuries 0
Fatalities 9
Damage $75 million (2026 USD)
Areas affected Sabetha, Kansas
Part of the
2026 Tornado Season
The 2026 Sabetha, Kansas tornado was a deadly and extremely violent EF5-rated tornado which struck far northern Kansas in the evening of Thursday, June 11, 2026. Touching down at 8:31 PM CDT, the tornado followed an unusual southeastward path, intensifying extremely rapidly as it cut through southern Sabetha. As a result of the tornado's very slow forward speed and relatively small size, most residents of Sabetha were able to move to the northern half of the town and avoid being struck. Only nine residents remained in the tornado's path as it cut through the town; all of whom were killed. Continuing southeast, the tornado weakened somewhat but remained violent for virtually all of its path before dissipating at 9:43 PM CDT near Fairview.

The tornado left a path 12.40 miles long and 360 yards wide at its peak, and remained on the ground for 1 hour and 12 minutes. While the tornado's path was almost entirely vacated, all nine of the people who remained in the path through Sabetha were killed. Damage in Sabetha and to the northwest of Fairview was rated "extreme EF5" and considered "some of the most intense damage ever observed". Enhanced Fujita Scale estimates placed the tornado's peak winds at at least 300 miles per hour; although it has been suggested that the intensity of the damage may have increased due to the tornado's slow forward speed.

The Sabetha tornado's low death toll was attributed to the fact that the majority of people in its path had evacuated. The Sabetha tornado was the first tornado ever known to cause a 100% fatality rate along its path; and ground-level damage was severe enough that damage survey teams stated that "on the old Fujita Scale, the Sabetha tornado may have been rated F6...in the worst-affected areas, basement saferooms were destroyed and a purpose-built below-ground storm shelter was compromised". The intensity of the Sabetha tornado, coupled with its unusual path and slow forward speed has led to comparison in the media with the May 27, 1997 Jarrell, Texas tornado. There are, in fact, so many similarities in terms of damage reports and fatality-to-injury ratios, that this was almost the Jarrell Tornado, Sabetha Version!

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