Severe weather will be highlighted across Kansas this week. This week, March 14th – 18th, is severe weather awareness week. It is a week where citizens are urged to become educated about severe weather, and about what to do when it threatens.
According to the National Weather Service, the 2015 severe weather was pretty active statewide.
In terms of tornado count, 2015 was an active year ranking 4th highest since 1950. There were 126 tornadoes in Kansas last year. By comparison, the most tornadoes ever reported in Kansas in a calendar year is 187 in 2008.
The most active month in 2015 was May with 63 tornadoes reported, which is well above the normal 23 for the month but well shy of the record 127 which occurred in May of 2008.
The most active tornado day in 2015 was May 6th when 22 tornadoes occurred, including 5 that resulted in several million dollars in damage.
Fortunately there were no violent tornadoes in Kansas last year, but 11 tornadoes were rated strong (EF2 – 3), and 115 were rated weak (EF0 – 1).
One of the more noteworthy events was a late season tornado outbreak in western Kansas. On November 16th, a total of 17 tornadoes occurred between 5 and 10 pm, including one tornado which traversed 51 miles across Seward, Meade and Gray counties. It was rated EF3 with a width of approximately 2000 yards.
The statewide tornado drill in Kansas will be Tuesday night at 6:30. The evening time for the drill is a little different this year. It is closer to the time when many tornadoes occur.
The drill will include test tornado warnings from the National Weather Service, activation of weather radios, and activation of outdoor warning sirens across the state. Citizens are urged to practice their own tornado plan as part of the drill.