Category Archives: Tornadoes

When storm chasers talk about signs warning of tornadoes…….

……this is not what they mean:

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Tornado threat for western Kansas today

Residents of western Kansas would be wise to monitor the weather closely Friday afternoon and evening.

The Storm Prediction Center is projecting a 5% chance of tornadoes for much of the western third of the state, including Dodge City, Garden City and Colby. Weather officials

“Very large hail, damaging wind gusts and several tornadoes may accompany the initial supercells as they move east-northeastward over the High Plains,” an SPC statement reads.

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Twin wedge tornadoes in Nebraska

Twin tornadoes are not unusual – it’s not uncommon for one or more satellite tornadoes to rotate around a larger primary tornado – but two wedge tornadoes so close together as shown by this video obtained by the Associated Press is rare.

This video was shot Monday in Nebraska. At least one person – a 5-year-old child – was killed and more than a dozen people injured in the town of Pilger by these tornadoes. I’ve seen twin tornadoes in the past, but never two wedges so close together.

Tornado Alley has been remarkably quiet so far this year

For each of the past two years, records have been set for the fewest tornadoes nationwide since records began being kept in 1950.

And 2014 seems eager to join the trend.

With just 68 tornadoes across the country in May as the midway point of the month approached, 2014 was putting up tornado numbers that threaten the current record of 908 set just last year.

It’s easy to see why when you look at the totals for the year in the heart of Tornado Alley.

Kansas, which averages 61 tornadoes a year, has only logged 13 so far in 2014, according to state climatologist Mary Knapp.

Texas has confirmed 12.

Oklahoma – which has been the scene of some of the most devastating tornadoes on record in recent years – has only had 4 tornadoes all year.

Officials say weather patterns now in place and also in the forecast are not conducive to tornado outbreaks, so the low numbers are likely to persist.

Moderate risk for severe weather Sunday includes the Wichita area

The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the severe weather threat for Sunday to moderate for a large section of the Great Plains. The moderate risk zone stretches from much of Iowa southwest through central Kansas to the Oklahoma state line.

The SPC is warning of a “severe weather outbreak with many tornadoes and very large hail possible Sunday and Sunday night across parts of the central Plains and mid-Missouri Valley.”

“Several strong or long-track tornadoes appear possible” – particularly in the area between Topeka and Des Moines, the center cautions.

Among the Kansas cities in the moderate zone are Salina, Topeka and Hutchinson. Omaha is among Nebraska cities in the moderate.

Wichita and Kansas City are in the slight risk zone, but the moderate boundary comes so close to Wichita that Maize and Goddard are in the moderate risk area.

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Any severe weather in the region isn’t likely to fire up until late afternoon or early evening, forecasters say.

United Way of the Plains sets up volunteer center in Baxter Springs

The United Way of the Plains has set up a Volunteer Reception Center in Baxter Springs to coordinate cleanup from last weekend’s tornado.

The center, which is located at 2402 Military Road in Baxter Springs, will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Delane Butler, vice president of market for the United Way of the Plains, in a prepared statement.

The EF2 tornado injured 34 people when it sliced through the Cherokee County town of about 4,200 residents just after 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

New volunteers must check in by 6 p.m. at the center, which is on the south end of tow, across from Casey’s General Store. Volunteers will be bussed to their assigned sites to work.

Plans are to have the Volunteer Reception Center open through this weekend. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools such as shovels, rakes, gloves and face masks.

For the latest information on volunteering in Baxter Springs, go to www.unitedwayplains.org/baxtersprings or call 2-1-1, which is United Way’s 24-hour information line.

Individuals interested in donating for Baxter Springs tornado relief can make checks payable to United Way of the Plains with “Baxter Springs Tornado” in the memo line, then mail them to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202.

Shelter set up in Baxter Springs for residents who lost homes in tornado

The American Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter in Baxter Springs for residents who lost their homes in Sunday’s tornado.

The shelter has been established at the Community Center, 1101 East Avenue, in Baxter Springs, where a tornado struck just after 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Dozens of homes and more than 20 businesses were damaged or destroyed.

One person reportedly died in Baxter Springs, though authorities have not yet confirmed whether the death was caused by the tornado. At least 25 people were hurt in the southeast Kansas town of 4,100, according to reports filed with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

Nine of the injured were taken to local hospitals, officials said.

The tornado was estimated to be three blocks wide on a path running southwest to northeast, Cherokee County emergency manager Jason Allison said.

In Hammond, five miles north of Fort Scott in Bourbon County, a grain elevator was blown over onto a rail line, derailing eight train cars, state officials said. Six homes were also damaged.

Baxter Springs is six miles north of Quapaw, Okla., where two people were killed by a tornado Sunday. The tornado was part of an outbreak that spanned six states and killed at least 18 people – 16 in suburbs of Little Rock in Arkansas.

Latest projections for severe weather threat

The Storm Prediction Center still has most of Kansas (including Wichita) in a slight risk for severe weather today. That includes a 2% chance of tornadoes within 25 miles of any given point.

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The National Weather Service has produced a graphic describing the most likely threats. Storms are expected to be widely scattered – even isolated – but should they fire up they’ll feature hail as large as baseballs and winds reaching 70 miles an hour.

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Wichita is on the northeast boundary of the 30% chance of hail charted on this map produced by the Storm Prediction Center. If you have a garage, put your vehicles in it.

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Weekend severe weather threat for Kansas

Here’s a graphical presentation of the severe weather threat for Kansas this weekend, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

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Major tornado outbreak possible this weekend in Kansas

The Storm Prediction Center is warning of a “significant multi-day severe event” Saturday and Sunday in the southern Plains, including Kansas.

“Strong tornadoes are possible,” a statement issued by the SPC reads.

Here’s a current map of the areas considered at risk:

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The purple area is for Saturday, the green for Sunday.

Stay tuned to later forecasts for updated information.