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Happy severe weather!
Kansans plan to be safe during awareness week
new ces college storm pic web
This thunderstorm moving into the Great Bend area illustrates the more common severe weather risk that Kansans need to prepare for, according to weather experts. - photo by file photo

Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 7-11, is a joint effort of the National Weather Service, Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Kansas Emergency Management Association and County Emergency Managers throughout the state of Kansas and Emergency Manager Amy Miller will talk about the event when the Barton County Commission meets Monday.
The week is observed around the state as a way to keep residents aware of the dangers that are routinely faced in severe weather season — a time that can grow into much of the year when the conditions are wrong. 
Part of the week’s observation is the annual statewide tornado drill, which will take place on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Test tornado warnings will be issued via NOAA Weather Radio and the EAS system for distribution statewide and across the state, safety officials will test sirens and other equipment.
However, the local and state officials are trying to educate the public to understand there are more dangers than tornadoes, and there are severe storm risks that are much more common.
According to information from the weather service:
“As in 2009, the havoc caused by tornadoes was surpassed by severe thunderstorms which can pack winds over 125 mph and hail greater in size than a grapefruit.
“On Sept. 15, Kansas set a new record for diameter in regards to hail. The behemoth stone fell in West Wichita and the diameter measured a whopping 7.75 inches, easily surpassing the old record set in Coffeyville. The stone in Coffeyville, will retain the record for weight, as the stone in Wichita was not able to be weighed until the following day and had sublimated.”
Kansas can pass the year without major tornado losses, weather experts explain.
“Fortunately, 2010 was another relatively quiet year in regards to tornadoes across the state of Kansas. The state recorded 88 tornadoes, which is 28 above the average of 60 tornadoes since records began in 1950. However, Kansas was eight under the 20 year average which is 96.
“On a side note, which county will be the first to reach 100 tornadoes since records began in 1950? It looks as though Sherman County has the lead with 99 tornadoes, but as we all know, one outbreak as depicted later in this document can spring many counties to that lofty height.”
By the way, Barton County is not far behind, with 89 tornadoes during that period since 1950.
Now is the time to prepare for severe weather, the experts added.
“Kansans live with the threat of severe weather year round. Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week is the ideal 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.”