May 18-22, 2028 tornado outbreak
Tornado - 435.jpg
EF4 tornado near Oakley, Kansas on May 19.
Date of tornado outbreak: May 18-22, 2028
Duration1: 5 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes
Maximum rated tornado2: EF4 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 210
Damages: $2.26 billion
Fatalities: 743
Areas affected:

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see wikipedia:Enhanced Fujita Scale

The May 18-22, 2028 tornado outbreak was an extremely deadly tornado outbreak that affected the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and southern Nebraska between May 18 and May 22, 2028. Produced by a series of intense and erratic supercells, the outbreak produced 210 tornadoes, one of which would be responsible for 719 fatalities.

The system was overall responsible for 743 fatalities, the vast majority of which were caused by the Wichita-El Dorado tornado. An additional 6 people were killed by lightning and powerful straight-line winds associated with the systems. The system spawned 22 EF4 tornadoes on May 18, 19, 20, and 22.

210 23 71 53 41 22 0

Notable tornadoes

Wichita, Kansas

This extremely deadly, long-tracked EF4 multiple-vortex tornado impacted southern Kansas in the early evening of May 20. Initially a fairly weak stovepipe, the tornado impacted the small community of Belmont, Kansas head-on at 5:43 PM, inflicting steady EF2-level damage, rapidly intensifying and attaining EF3 strength as it left the town. The tornado attained EF4 strength and caused a wide swath of ground scouring as it crossed through empty fields between the towns of Belmont and Cheney. It then impacted northwestern Cheney, maintaining EF4 strength as it destroyed two transmission towers and demolished dozens of buildings. The tornado weakened to EF3 intensity as it entered the northeastern portion of Cheney, then rapidly re-intensified to EF4 strength as it left the town. At this point, the tornado widened into a colossal wedge.

A tornado emergency was issued for Wichita at 6:03 PM as the tornado slowed dramatically to a near-standstill. Shortly afterward, the tornado impacted the town of Goddard at EF3 strength; many houses and small businesses in the northern portion of the town were demolished, and the Tanganyika Wildlife Park sustained devastating damage, but no human fatalities occurred. The tornado maintained EF3 strength as it entered Wichita itself at 6:21 PM. Shortly afterward, it attained EF4 strength for a third time as it cut through the Sand Wedge area, impacted the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, then began a slow track through the center of the city. Thousands of homes and small businesses in the tornado's path were completely leveled, passenger trains were picked up and thrown, and significant pavement scouring occurred. As the tornado entered the downtown area, a Doppler on Wheels recorded winds of 198 miles per hour; in the same area, skyscrapers were severely damaged and a small truck was thrown cleanly through a bank tower. Most of the damage in the downtown area was near EF5-level; however, the fact that the damage was borderline, and the fact that the tornado's winds were never confirmed to have been higher than 200 miles per hour led to a maximum rating of EF4.

By 6:37 PM, the tornado weakened to EF3 strength; minutes later the tornado exited Wichita and continued through the town of Andover, steadily continuing to weaken as it narrowed to a cone, and then an elephant trunk. The tornado continued to track over empty fields to the northeast of Andover at EF1 strength, roping out and dissipating completely at 7:00 PM.

The tornado was responsible for 719 fatalities, making it the deadliest tornado since the 2024 Oklahoma City Metro tornado and the fifth-deadliest in United States history overall. The same supercell that spawned the Wichita tornado would later produce another deadly tornado, rated EF3, in the early morning of May 21.

Beatrice, Nebraska/Rock Port, Iowa

Tornado - 436

Tornado at peak strength at 5:07 PM.

The second-deadliest tornado of the outbreak was a long-tracked, high-end EF3 which touched town to the west of Alexandria, Nebraska at 4:37 PM on May 21. It began its life cycle as a large, multiple-vortex tornado, inflicting EF0 to EF1 damage on barns and small groves of trees. It grazed past northern Alexandria at EF2 strength, removing the roofing from a number of buildings and killing one person there. Shortly afterward, the tornado shifted to a southeastward track, attaining EF3 strength as it morphed into a stovepipe.