Tornado Drill Highlights Severe Weather Awareness Week

A statewide tornado drill Tuesday morning will be one of the highlights of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas. Severe weather awareness will be highlighted across the state all this 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, tornadoes were few and far between in 2020 with a statewide total of 17. This is a small fraction of the average of 88 over the past 30 years. This is a noticeable decrease in tornadoes from the past two years, 45 in 2018 and 89 in 2019.

The majority of the tornadoes reported occurred in May and no strong or violent tornadoes were observed.

The strongest tornado of the year occurred on July 1st in Seward County. The EF-1 tornado traveled 6.2 miles across the county leaving damage to irrigation pivots, power poles and crops. This proved to be the costliest tornado of the 2020 season, with an estimated damage value of $200,000.

No tornado related injuries or fatalities occurred in 2020.

May was the most active month for tornadoes this season with 11 reported. May 21st accounted for nearly one-third of the yearly total number of tornadoes with six reported. Four tornadoes occurred on May 14th with the 11th and final tornado for May occurring on the 23rd in Sherman County.

Officials urge citizens and businesses not to rely solely on the outdoor warning sirens when indoors. 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.

The statewide tornado drill in Kansas will be Tuesday morning at 10:00. 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.

Local media outlets and All Hazards NOAA Weather Radios are your best sources for information concerning severe weather watches and warnings.