WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – We felt the pendulum swing back and forth from bitter cold to more tolerable temperatures over the winter. With meteorological spring here, it is time to look at what kind of severe weather season we can expect.

Warmer temperatures, more humidity, and severe storms have flirted with the Sunflower state lately. Our weather pattern is shifting. One that may be more promising for moisture after years of drought, which cannot come soon enough, but that also means we may face a busy, severe weather season.

Across the world, you can track any number of low-pressure systems. A few rather intense systems crossed our path over winter.

Wind shear, or the turning of winds with height in the atmosphere, has been strong.

What was lacking? Sustained warmth, higher dew points, and an unstable atmosphere. This will not be a problem much longer.

Temperatures are starting to warm, which naturally happens with the tilt of the Earth as we approach summer, enabling an unstable atmosphere. A stiff southernly wind with moisture streaming from the Gulf of Mexico helps to liven up any low-pressure system approaching from the west, creating rain, storms, and potentially severe weather.

Last year, we faced a few tornadoes across Kansas.

“The spotter reports were saying we’ve got a touchdown, and now it is moving toward Andover. Now, it is in the City of Andover,” said Keri Korthals, Director of Emergency Management for Butler County.

The late April tornado started over southeast Wichita and then hit part of Andover. The tornado took seconds to do damage but will the community will take years to recover.

For the last three winters, we stayed locked in a La Niña pattern. This has only happened three other times in recorded history. This enhanced our drought year after year.

In a La Niña, water off the coast of Peru cools and begins a chain reaction around the globe, altering the weather flow. Over the last few months, those waters have begun to warm, an indication that we are transitioning to a neutral phase. This might even shift into an El Niño later in the year.

A hopeful sight to start stepping away from such dry conditions. It will not change immediately but a months-long process amid many more potent storm systems.

As we emerge from this third year in a row of La Niña, be weather aware.

At the end of each La Niña winter in 1957, 1976, and 2001, we had notable tornadoes:

Stay weather aware

Stay weather aware this season by downloading our free KSN Storm Track 3 weather app, where you can have tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flood warning alerts sent right to your phone:

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