The rare December tornado that touched down southwest of Wichita late Sunday afternoon has been rated an EF-0 by the National Weather Service.
The tornado touched down at 5:38 p.m. a little more than a mile northeast of Harper in Harper County. It stayed on the ground for a little more than five miles and was about 100 yards wide, according to a damage assessment survey conducted by the weather service.
The tornado had maximum winds of 85 miles an hour and damaged trees and rolled hay bales in a rural part of the county. It lifted at 5:45 p.m. just south of the Kingman County line after traveling north-northeast.
An EF-0 is the least damaging tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which has been used to rate tornadoes since 2007. The most damaging is an EF-5, which has wind speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour.
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Local weather officials say it’s the first tornado to touch down in December in the 26 counties covered by the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service since 1956.