A statewide tornado drill Tuesday morning was one of the highlights of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas. This 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 2016 severe weather was pretty active statewide.
In 2016 there were 102 tornadoes in Kansas, which is 40 above the average. Included in those numbers are four tornadoes that touched down in Saline County. There were 12 tornado-related injuries in Kansas in 2016, but no fatalities.
On October 6th two tornadoes touched down in rural Saline County. Two homes were hit, and one of them was destroyed completely. When the first tornado touched down, an official warning had not yet been issued. The weather service attributed this to weak signals on the radar, probably because of the time of year. KSAL Storm Spotter Elizabeth Ernst and her “Storm Busters” team were already out watching the storm, and were reporting the tornado on the radio before the warning was issued. Though there was damage, there were no injuries or fatalities.
The Saline County Emergency Management Office urges residents and businesses not to rely solely on the outdoor warning sirens when indoors. Each year they emphasize the fact that the Outdoor Sirens are just that, an outdoor warning system for citizens who are outside during severe weather to warn them to take cover.
Local media outlets and All Hazards NOAA Weather Radios are your best sources for information concerning severe weather watches and warnings.