Category Archives: Wind

It’s not your imagination – the day’s getting colder

Wichita has already hit its high temperature for the day – and that came before dawn.

The mercury is on a steady slide from that 54 recorded at 4:36 a.m., and it’s going to bottom out in the low 20s tonight, National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Pearce said.

Wind chills will flirt with the single digits, thanks to gusty north-northwest winds, and they’ll persist on Tuesday.

Bundle up.

Six tornadoes confirmed in Wichita area from Wednesday’s storms

A storm damage survey conducted by the National Weather Service confirmed that six tornadoes touched down in or near the Wichita area Wednesday night. Fortunately, none of the tornadoes stayed on the ground for long, and all of the them were weak EF0s.

The tornadoes and their locations:
* 7 miles west of Derby, Sedgwick County
* 6 miles east of Clearwater, Sedgwick County
* 1 mile east of Mulvane, Sumner County
* 2 miles north-northwest of Severy, Greenwood County
* 8 miles north of Winfield, Cowley County
* 3 miles northwest of Burden, Cowley County

Strong winds were also associated with the storm. Meteorologists said the strongest winds appeared to come from the storm’s rear-flank downdrafts. Multiple locations reported winds in excess of 70 miles an hour.

* 80 MPH (estimated) in Winfield, Cowley County
* 76 MPH (measured) in Mulvane, Sumner County
* 72 MPH (measured) in Cherryvale, Montgomery County
* 70 MPH (estimated) in Fredonia, Wilson County

Strong winds causing travel hazards in Wichita area

Winds of up to 50 miles an hour are causing areas of blowing dust west of Wichita, dropping visibility to near zero, according to the National Weather Service.

“Driving will obviously be dangerous, especially on Highway 400 in Kingman and Sedgwick counties,” the agency reported in a significant weather statement.

Kellogg becomes U.S. 400 outside the Wichita city limits.

The strong winds are expected to subside by 5 p.m.

Blame the heat spike on downslope winds

Kansas may not have mountains – but its weather is often affected by them.

This heat wave is an example. Winds racing down the slope of the Front Range of the Rockies are sending temperatures soaring in the Wichita area.

Air cools as it rises, and warms as it descends. Winds out of the southwest commonly are coming off the mountains, and if they’re at all robust that rapid compression of the air can vault temperatures several degrees.

When it happens in April or October, the “downslope” effect can transform a day from cool to comfortable. When it happens in July or August, it can make Kansas feel like a blast furnace.

Highs will be approaching or touching 105 the next couple of days in Wichita, and heat index readings are expected to be near 110.

Severe weather threat for Wichita later today

The threat for severe weather today isn’t as high as it was Monday, but forecasters say today is mirroring Monday in at least one key way.

If the clouds linger over the city most of the day, they figure to shield Wichita from the worst of the violent weather that is possible – just like what happened Monday.

“The main threat is hail and some severe winds,” said Jerilyn Billings, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. “You can’t rule out the possibility of a tornado at this point in time.

“We’re not expecting big, long-track tornadoes. It could be a few brief tornadoes.”

According to a special weather statement issued by the weather service, storms are expected to develop after 3 p.m. today along the dry line and warm front.

Any storm that develops this afternoon and tonight will have a good chance of producing large hail and damaging winds. A brief tornado or two is also possible between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. for locations generally along and southeast of the Kansas Turnpike.

For more information on conditions, go to our weather page.

Will the wind EVER stop?

Wind-weary Wichitans are asking me why the wind is so much worse this spring than ever before.

But the numbers suggest it isn’t.

April is Wichita’s windiest month, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Caruso said, and “last year might have actually been slightly windier.”

Today marks the fifth day of the month with average winds of 20 knots, or about 23 mph. Last April, there were 6.

But there were only 4 such days in 2008, 2 in 2007 and 3 in 2006.

Only five days this month have had winds of less than 20 miles an hour, though, so I understand why folks are wondering about the wind.

Damage from the high winds that struck southeastern Kansas last week

Winds of as much as 80 miles an hour damaged homes and buildings and snapped off power poles in southeast Kansas, thanks to storms that managed to miss Wichita last Friday.

Scott Roberts sent me some photos of the damage in Iola, which he said appeared to represent the worst of what he had seen in the region. Here are a couple of them:


Scott tells me this building was at the corner of U.S. 54 and Kentucky in Iola.


This tree damage was photographed at the corner of Madison and Oak.

A respite from the wind

Robust winds have ruled Kansas for the past two weeks, but today’s relative calm is but a mere respite, officials say.

In fact, Sedgwick County Fire Marshal Tim Millspaugh urged residents needing to do open burning to do it today. Starting on Friday, winds figure to be too strong to allow it for at least another week.

Today’s winds should stay below the 15 mph threshold for open burning. That will seem positively tranquil compared to the winds endured since mid-March.

Millspaugh urged residents who have CRP grass land to complete their required burns today if possible. The time limit for CRP burns has been extended to 10 p.m., which is a departure from the normal “out-by-sunset” rule. All controlled burns must be completed by 10 p.m.

Another wind advisory today

A wind advisory is in effect for much of Kansas again today, with sustained winds topping 30 miles an hour and gusts expected to reach 45 mph.

The advisory includes the city of Wichita, and extends until 8 p.m. in the metropolitan area. Advisories blanket the western two-thirds of the state.

Fire danger ‘very high’ in Wichita area this afternoon

The Rangeland Fire Index for this afternoon will be in the “very high” category in the Wichita area, officials say.

Wind gusts of more than 30 miles an hour, humidity readings as low as 40 percent and dormant grass will combine to create an elevated risk of grass and rangeland fires.

Fire officials are urging Sedgwick County residents to be cautious when engaging in outdoor activities such as cooking, welding and metal cutting.

All outdoor burning – including the burning of trash in a barrel – is highly discouraged.