KSN Storm Track 3 Digital Extra: A look at Kansas tornado climatology

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Record keeping through recent decades has shown an impressive amount of tornadoes through the area. Before getting into what we can expect during peak tornado season, take a look at how many tornadoes our counties have seen between 1950 and 2012. The two numbers for each part of the area represent the least amount of tornadoes a single county has seen and the most tornadoes a single county has seen. Remember, these numbers are over a span of more than 60 years.

To help, I have marked the counties with the highest number with a tornado. In Northwest Kansas, Sherman County has seen 101 tornadoes between 1950 and 2012. Finney County is at the top of Southwest Kansas counties with 88 tornadoes. Barton County in North Central Kansas with 94 and Sedgwick County in South Central Kansas with 84.

Let us take a look at the months that yield the highest amount of tornadoes in Kansas: April, May, and June. April is typically when Kansas starts to see an uptick in tornadic activity with an average of 13 tornadoes. The season peaks in May with a big jump to an average of 37 tornadoes. Notice how the average goes down to 19 in June but that is still more than April. This data was taken between 1991 and 2015.

Kansas typically sees around 96 tornadoes per year, according to data taken between 1991 and 2010. We see more than half of that in April, May, and June alone. This data is not only meant to be informative but to keep you aware even after our peak month of May. Remember that tornadoes can happen year-round and anywhere in the world if the conditions and ingredients come together.

-Meteorologist Ronelle Williams

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