Meteorologists from the National Weather Service office in Wichita, in partnership with the Barton County Emergency Management office, hosted “Storm Fury on the Plains” on Thursday at the Great Bend Crest Theater. This presentation was designed to prepare storm spotters and weather enthusiasts for the upcoming storm season. “This presentation is very important not only to the spotters, but to fire and police departments and the public as well,” meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser said. “Here in Kansas we get more people calling in to report severe weather. These presentations help with that.”
The presentation began with a slide show on how to spot a severe storm, how tornadoes are formed, what the different parts of a storm cloud are called, how they play a part during a storm and what part of the storm can develop into a tornado.
“Kansas is in the heart of tornado alley. We have to be more alert when it comes to storms,” Kleinsasser said. “So we need to talk about storm identification, safety, and our goal is to get people talking about and thinking about severe weather. That way they can be prepared as much as they can be when that storm hits.”
According to the National Weather Service, a total of 45 tornadoes occurred in Kansas in 2018, which is well below the 10-year and 30-year average. No violent tornadoes occurred in Kansas last year, and no tornado-related fatalities were reported. On June 26, an EF3 tornado tracked across 9.15 miles in Greenwood County, resulting in eight injuries.
May was the most active month of 2018 with 34 tornadoes. This is 93 tornadoes below the one-month record of 127 tornadoes reported in May 2008. The costliest tornado of 2018 was the EF3 tornado that went through Greenwood County. Damage was estimated to be $13,690,000.