Tornado Alley

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.

(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.

Daniel Shaw AU / Twitter

In a virtual tribute to the actor Bill Paxton, star of the popular tornado film 'Twister,' storm chasers and spotters spelled out the star’s initials on an online map that is used to track tornadoes Sunday, after hearing of the 61-year-old actor’s death.

Paxton, who starred in Apollo 13 and Titanic, played a veteran meteorologist and storm chaser in the 1996 hit movie 'Twister,' and became an icon for many of the real-life storm chasers who took part in Sunday’s tribute.

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.”

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.