Saturday, August 30, 2014
     

SEVERE WEATHER

There were 92 tornadoes in Kansas in 2006, this far exceeded the average of 55. In 2005, a record 135 tornadoes occurred across the state of Kansas. In addition, numerous severe thunderstorms caused millions of dollars in damage to property and crops by producing damaging winds, large hail
and torrential rainfall. 

Kansans live with the threat of severe weather year round. Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great time to prepare for severe weather. Families should practice their severe weather safety plan at home, work, school or other public locations that they frequent. They should develop a safety plan for times when they are participating in outdoor recreation activities, sporting events, or working outdoors. Each Kansan should know where to go should severe weather strike their location.

2006 Kansas Tornado Facts

Tornadoes: 92 (37 above the 1950-2006 average of 55) 

Deaths: Zero Injuries: 18 

Longest Track: 17.0 miles (Washington County - April 6) 

Strongest: F2 (March 30, April 1, April 6) 

Most in a county: 10 (Ford County - October 26) 

Days of occurrence: 22 

Most in one day: 28 (October 26) 

Most in one month: 28 (October, new record for highest October total since 1950. Previous record 19 in 2000.) 

Record Months: January (3); October (28) 

First tornado of the year: January 28 (Harvey county, 3:17 pm CST) 

Last touchdown of the year: October 26 (Comanche County, 5:44 pm CDT)

Damaging Thunderstorm Winds

Many times when storm damage occurs to buildings, trees or other objects, people automatically say it was a Tornado! The “glamour” of having a tornado seems to overwhelm scientific evidence and common sense. Although difficult for many to understand, in most years, thunderstorm winds cause more damage, and are more frequent than tornadoes. In addition, property and crop damage can be more severe from thunderstorm winds than from tornadoes. Thunderstorms winds can exceed 100 mph while the most common tornado winds are generally not this strong.

Thunderstorm winds come in many forms, sometimes from squall lines of thunderstorms and other times in the form of downburst winds. The most frequently encountered type of damaging straight-line wind in a thunderstorm is that associated with the leading edge of the rain-cooled outflow, known as the gust front. Although most thunderstorm outflow winds range from 30 to 50 mph, on occasion these winds can exceed 100 mph. Downburst-producing storms often give little advance indications of the imminent danger on weather radar or to the spotter, so warnings are difficult to issue. In 2004, thunderstorms winds produced an estimated $5.5 million in property damage, according to the publication Storm Data. This was about 1/6th the amount of tornado damage in 2004. However, in most years, thunderstorm wind damage is more than that caused by tornadoes.

To be safe from strong thunderstorm winds, go inside a sturdy building but stay away from windows that could break. If available, get to a basement or underground shelter. Large hail and flooding rains may accompany strong winds, so be alert to these dangers, also. Stay informed about the weather at all times! 

IN HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS : Go to the basement or cellar (if available) or to an interior room on
the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.

IN SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, FACTORIES, OR SHOPPING CENTERS: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don't take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally-located stairwells are good shelter.

IN HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS: Go to interior small rooms, halls, rest rooms or designated shelter areas. Stay away from exterior walls, elevators, doors or glassy areas.

IN CARS OR MOBILE HOMES: ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!!! Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.

IF NO SUITABLE STRUCTURE IS NEARBY: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. Be alert for flash floods.

DURING A TORNADO: Absolutely avoid buildings with large free-span roofs. Stay away from west and south walls. Remember: lowest level, smallest room, center part.

TO PREPARE FOR A TORNADO: Store water in clean covered containers. You should keep disaster supplies in your home at all times (i.e. flashlight, radio first aid kit.).

No matter where you are, do some advance planning.. Identify protective areas you can get to in a hurry. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio that will provide an alarm if a tornado watch or warning is in affect for your county.

The key to tornado survival is to be prepared and to take immediate action when a warning is issued or when you spot a tornado.
Remember, the actions you take during a tornado may save your life and the lives of your family.

Bottom Line for Tornado Safety, Get Down and Cover Up!!

FLOODING

Did you know that floods, especially flash foods, kill more people each year than any other weather phenomenon? And do you know why? Well, the main reason is that people underestimate the force and power of water. As little as six inches of fast moving water can sweep you off your feet and 18 to 24 inches of water is enough to float a car and carry it away. If you see a road barrier across a flooded roadway, then “Turn Around. Don’t Drown!” This is the National Weather Service’s new Motto. We want you to remember this if you encounter a situation where you see water covering a roadway. You will not know the depth of the water or know the condition of the road under the water. Did you also know that about 60 percent of all flood deaths result from people trying to cross flooded roads in vehicles when the moving water sweeps them away? So Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Don’t become one of the statistics. 

Helpful safety rules to adhere to: When heavy rains threaten, monitor NOAA Weather Radio or favorite news source for weather information. If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Leave areas subject to flooding, such as dips, low spots and underpasses. Avoid areas already flooded. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Never drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around Don’t Drown. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave
it immediately and seek higher ground. Look for a floatation devise. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.  Please report flooding to your local authorities or The National Weather Service. Finally, know when you are at risk. Keep abreast of the latest weather watches and warnings. Let caution and good sense be your guides. Remember, Turn Around. Don’t Drown!

LINKS:

MSN Encarta Extreme Weather Quiz

MSN Encarta Winter Quiz

MSN Encarta Perfect Disaster Quiz

Discovery Channel Grow A Tornado