Tornado season dawns in Kansas

Kansas Tornado facts for Year 2000

— Number: 59 (10 above normal)

— Deaths: None.

— Injuries: 37 (most in Parsons)

— Estimated property damage: $76.7 million.

— Most in a county: 6, Sherman County.

— Number in Marion County: No confirmed reports of a tornado touching down, according to the National Weather Service in Wichita.

— Longest track: 34 miles (across Montgomery, Labette Neosho and Crawford counties, April 19)

— Strongest: F3 (Labette County, April 19)

— Days of occurrence: 17

— Most in one day: 8 (Oct. 31)

— First to touch down: March 7, Seward County

— Last to touch down: Oct. 31, Rawlins County

— Most in one month: 18, October (new record)

— Monthly totals: January 0, February 0, March 8, April 7, May 8, June 15, July 3, August 0, September 0, October 18, November 0, December 0

— Year in review: 2000 was another year with above-normal number of tornadoes. In an unusual situation, most occurred in the western third of Kansas, while the most destructive tornadoes hit in the extreme east and southeast (Parsons and Tonganoxie).

Although more than half of the tornadoes in 2000 occurred during the peak months of April, May and June, a new monthly record was set in October, when 18 late-season twisters struck the far northwest and western counties. The majority occurred on Halloween, making it the second latest occurrence of tornadoes in northwest Kansas.

In contrast, from late July through mid-September, the intense summer heat and drought prevented the formation of tornadoes.

The year’s strongest tornado, at Parsons, reached the F3 category. Almost all other remained in the weak F0 or F1 scale.

Plan for the


A tornado can strike at any time, but you can prepare now for a tornado by taking a few simple steps.

—      Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school, and when outdoors.

—      Designate a safe place where family members could gather in case of a tornado warning.

—      Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster.

—      Pick a meeting place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.

—      Have frequent drills.

—      Make sure family members know the county in which you live.

If a warning is issued, or if threatening weather approaches…

—      In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement. Go to a corner and cover your head.

—      If an underground shelter or basement is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Put as many walls between you and the outside walls as possible.

—      Stay away from windows.

—      Get out of automobiles.

—      Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car.

—      If caught outside or in a vehicle, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.

—      Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

—      Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.

A check list for storm supplies

One way to be prepared for a tornado or other disaster is to keep emergency supplies on hand. Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffel bag. Include:

—      water stored in sealed, unbreakable containers (one gallon per person per day. Replace every six months).

—      a three-day supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.

—      a change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes for each member of the family.

—      blankets or sleeping bags.

—      a first aid kit and prescription medications.

—      battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.

—      extra cash/credit card

—      extra set of car keys.

—      list of important family information; the style and serial numbers of medical devices, such as pacemakers.

— special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

Some twister facts

to blow you away…

— Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m. but have been known to occur at all hours of the day or night.

— The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.

— The average forward speed is 30 mph, but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.

— Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most deaths and injuries.

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