Tornado Watches and Warnings in Kansas

March 9, 2023

tornadoes in Kansas

Kansas is known to have lots of tornadoes and many people don't know why. It's because the state has access to two large sources of cold, dry air from the Rocky Mountains and warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.

The air combines with the wind to form tornadoes. Whether they are large or small, tornadoes can be devastating and cause serious damage.

How They Form

A tornado is one of nature's most devastating storms. Their winds can rip houses from the ground, throw cars in the air and flip trains.

Kansas gets its share of tornadoes because it's located in Tornado Alley, an area where cold, dry air from the Rocky Mountains collides with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. These weather conditions make the midwest an ideal place to form thunderstorms, which also help form tornadoes.

While tornadoes are most common during the spring and summer, they can occur at any time of the year. They are most likely to happen between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. and can be severe, so it's important to know when to prepare for a tornado in Kansas.

What Causes Tornadoes

Tornadoes are caused by a collision of warm, moist air with cold, dry air. This combination creates an area of low pressure.

When this rotating air is in contact with the ground, it causes damage and can even destroy homes and buildings. This can lead to major losses and financial burdens, as well as a lot of emotional stress for the people involved.

The best way to prepare for a tornado is to be aware of severe weather patterns in your area. Sign up for severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service to stay informed and protect yourself and your family.

During a storm, look out for a dark greenish tint to the sky, large hail, and a loud roaring sound of rushing wind. These are all signs a tornado is near.

How to Prepare for a Tornado

Tornadoes are a serious threat in Kansas and can quickly bring wind speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The best way to protect yourself is to stay aware of tornado watches and warnings, create a family tornado plan and prepare your home for the worst case scenario.

If a tornado is imminent, go to your safest shelter - basement or storm cellar if possible - as soon as you hear the tornado warning. Find a room that isn't connected to the main building and that has thick walls with no windows.

Keep a NOAA Weather Radio on hand to listen for the latest storm reports and tornado warnings. These will allow you to determine the best place for your family to take shelter.

When you're inside, be sure to put on a bike helmet or hard hat, safety goggles and a heavy winter coat, all of which can make a big difference in your protection from flying debris. Additionally, keep a first aid kit and a three-day supply of water handy.

What to Do if You See a Tornado

Whether you’re in Kansas or traveling through it, you should be aware of tornadoes and what to do if they strike. The National Weather Service issues Tornado Watches and Warnings when it believes severe thunderstorm conditions are favorable for tornado formation.

When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter immediately. The safest place to go is under a sturdy building, like a shopping mall or office building.

If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat on the floor. Cover your head with your hands and try to stay away from windows.

Do not hide under highway overpasses, as they act like wind tunnels during a tornado and can cause more damage.

Learn what buildings are prone to tornadoes and know where the nearest shelter is located, especially in schools, shopping centers, sports arenas, hospitals, offices and mobile home communities. Also, be sure to have emergency supplies at your shelter location. This includes items such as a bicycle helmet or hard hat, safety glasses and a heavy winter coat.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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