tornado

John High has diabetes, which led to his leg being amputated below the knee two years ago. He's been using a wheelchair since then, and hasn't gotten used to having to work out solutions to everyday problems — such as getting in and out of the shower in the small rental house he shares with his son in Norman, Okla. But when he hears a tornado siren blaring out its high-pitched warning he feels a spasm of fear and dread. In this situation, he's on his own.

Dena Duffin, 53, pulls her teenage son close as she looks into the trailer stuffed with tables, tubs of housewares and whatever else they were able to salvage when the tornado ripped their home off its foundation the night of May 28.

“I gave that to my dad,” she says, pointing to a dented copper tub. “And there’s a stepstool and shelf my dad made for us. You can’t replace those kinds of things.”

Build higher, build stronger — it pays off big in Kansas.

Disaster mitigation investments in Kansas yielded more savings than efforts in any other state, a new study found. The Pew Charitable Trusts listed Missouri as a close second.

By Nomin Ujiyediin and Scott Canon

With trees shredded into tinder and homes ripped asunder, scores of families in and around Lawrence and Linwood, Kansas, surveyed lives that forever will be marked by the time before and after Tuesday’s tornado.

No one was killed by the powerful twister, surrounded by a mile-wide sheet of rain, that hugged the ground in northeast Kansas for more than an hour. Still, close to two dozen people were injured, including at least one person who needed surgery.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. with tornado warnings canceled — A large tornado caused damage south of Lawrence and in the small town of Linwood, Kansas, on Tuesday night, but looked to miss the majority of the Kansas City metro area.

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) 

With trees shredded into tinder and homes ripped asunder, scores of families in and around Lawrence and Linwood, Kansas, surveyed lives that forever will be marked by the time before and after Tuesday’s tornado.

Kansas is about to make it through the end of April without a tornado for only the fourth time since record keeping began.

JUSTIN1569 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

You’ve got about nine minutes’ warning before a tornado strikes – except in Kansas. But a recently passed federal law is aimed at improving that.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, a review of warnings issued by National Weather Service meteorologists shows that the average lead time given to the U.S. public on tornado warnings dropped from 15 minutes in 2015 to nine minutes in 2016.

In Kansas, however, the average lead time increased from 13.7 minutes in 2007 to 14.26 today.

Christy Huber

A series of storms in Texas and Oklahoma panhandles brought damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, killing one person in western Oklahoma Tuesday afternoon and evening.

As The Amarillo Globe reports, four tornadoes were spotted in the eastern part of the Texas Panhandle Tuesday afternoon.

Travis Morrise / The Hutchinson News

It’s a rainy Tuesday in April, bringing local farmers to the Crazy Mule for a noon meal – which is located in a seven-year-old downtown that is nearly 80 percent full. Down the street is the two-year-old movie theater, which claims to have the biggest screen between Wichita and Denver.

Dixson, who was heading out of town for a funeral, said his wife, Ann, was filling in at the school where the grandkids attend. The countywide school, with its state-of-the-art technology and plenty of windows that bring in natural light, is only seven years old, as well.

NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory

March 5 to 11 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas and a couple of events are planned to ensure people are ready for severe weather.

According to the National Weather Service, a statewide tornado safety drill will take place at 10 a.m. central time on Tuesday and Finney County Emergency Management will be holding a severe weather/storm safety training Thursday.

The National Weather Service provides storm identification/spotter training sessions each spring in cooperation with area emergency management agencies.

Oklahoma Climatological Survey / KOCO

Moore, Oklahoma, in Cleveland County, has gotten a dangerous reputation recently because of the spate of tornadoes the town has received. But, believe it or not, Cleveland County is nowhere near the most tornado-prone county in the Sooner State.

KOCO has published a study analyzing which Oklahoma counties have seen the most tornadic activity since 1950.

WYRK.COM

Those planning to travel for the Christmas holiday should expect severe weather in some areas of the central United States.

Tanner Colvin / AP photo

Roughly fifty tornados were sighted in Kansas last week, according to The Wichita Eagle. The most powerful was an EF-4 that grew to a half-mile wide. The twister was on the ground for 90 minutes and its roar could be heard two miles away. This sort of activity is par for the course in Tornado Alley. Bryan Baerg, a meteorologist with the Topeka branch of the National Weather Service, explained: “It’s late May, so it comes with the territory.”

Dave Hall / The Guardian

An editor for the British news site The Guardian recently went on a trek with a team of Oklahoma stormchasers. His expectations were low—he knew seeing a tornado was rare, even for these intrepid weather watchers.

Sentry Siren / New York Times

May and early June are the busiest time of the year for tornados on the High Plains. And that means many flatlanders are used to the sounds of tornado sirens in their neighborhoods. In our highly technological era, it might seem like tornado sirens have outlived their usefulness. But, as The New York Times reports, the sirens are still putting an old technology to good use.

weather.gov/norman / KGOU

April’s weather was exceptionally aggressive this year in Oklahoma, reports KGOU. Despite early fears of a growing drought, the state saw the seventh-wettest April on record. Statewide, Oklahoma received more than six inches of precipitation during the month.

wyrk.com

It’s going to be an ordinary spring for weather in Oklahoma. The basic outlook for March through May is above-average rainfall, but normal temperatures. May is peak tornado time in the state, but so far, meteorologists are predicting a below average season for severe storms and twisters. And we all know, that means you’d still better hang onto your hats.

Christopher Connelly / KERA

Meteorologists say basements are one of the best places to take shelter during a tornado. But for some reason, Texas has a woeful lack of basements, according to KUT Austin. Some say the lack of cellars is due to the expansive soil in Texas. When Texas dirt gets wet, it swells. Then it shrinks again in the summer. That makes building basements difficult.

Another Slow Year for Tornadoes

Dec 18, 2015
Justin1569 / Wikimedia Commons

In an age of uncommon and harrowing weather incidents that seem to appear almost weekly, here’s some refreshing news. For the fourth consecutive year, the number of tornadoes in the United States was well below normal, reports The Wichita Eagle. This year saw about 15 percent fewer tornadoes than usual. And most of the tornadoes that did appear were extremely weak. More than 63 percent of the tornadoes that touched down by the end of October were rated EF-0. This means they had winds of between 65 and 85 mph.

A Crazy Week for Weather on the High Plains

Nov 19, 2015
Severe Studios

it’s been a crazy weather week on the High Plains. You name it, we’ve seen it. The flatlands have experienced snow, rain, tornadoes, hail, and unseasonably warm weather.

No Place for Sissies

Jun 1, 2015

We invited a French exchange student to share our lives for six weeks one summer. Her first question after she deposited her luggage in the bedroom was, “Do you have tornadoes here?”

Video of a tornado churning across the Texas Panhandle

Apr 23, 2015

Last week brought some severe weather to the region. A video from social media shows the twister on Thursday in the Texas Panhandle. There were 11 tornado reports submitted to the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon. Four in the Texas Panhandle and far western Oklahoma.

A Tornado History Lesson

Apr 10, 2015
David Drummond / David Drummond Photography

Outbreak patterns are shifting in Tornado Alley

Nov 30, 2014
noaanews.noaa.gov

Tornado alley is undergoing a transformation.  The Wichita Eagle reports the number of days with damaging tornados has fallen sharply.  But the number of days with large outbreaks has climbed dramatically.

city-data.com

Tornado season has begun, and it’s off to a pretty quiet start, but weather officials say that won’t last according to a recent article in the Wichita Eagle.

School's Out for.... Severe Weather?

Jul 16, 2013
rootsweb.ancestry.com

  The Oklahoma Department of Education requires schools to provide 175 days of instruction.  Districts can cancel school for any weather, anytime of the year.  

Oklahoma is the beating heart of tornado alley. State Impact Oklahoma reports community tornado shelters are closing because they are, "too popular." Listen to the audio feature.