If the constant threat of flooding from Wildcat Creek and Tuttle Creek Lake weren’t enough, Kansas has been plagued by an unprecedented string of tornadoes in recent weeks.
A massive tornado near Lawrence on Tuesday night injured at least 12 people, shut down Kansas City International Airport for a short time and destroyed homes in the small town of Linwood.
Tuesday marked the 12th consecutive day in which multiple tornadoes were reported across the country.
In Kansas, about four dozen tornadoes have touched down during that time period.
Nationwide, the number of reported twisters is more than 500 in 30 days.
While research hasn’t conclusively shown that climate change is resulting in more tornadoes overall, researchers in a study have found that tornadoes are increasingly clustered over short periods of time, according to findings published in Science magazine.
What that means for us Kansas folk, portrayed in internet memes as oblivious to danger while we sit on our front porches watching storms roll in, is that we need to be more cautious.
Recently, when a tornado touched down in Geary County, sirens went off 8 or more miles away in Manhattan. That might have seemed unnecessary to some people. But we need to be aware that where there’s one tornado, more are likely to follow in the same vicinity. And that’s more true than ever.
Rather than stay outside to catch a glimpse of an approaching tornado, please take the advice of officials and take shelter.
Most of us probably know the specifics, but it can’t hurt to repeat them: Head immediately for a basement, safe room or storm cellar. If you’re in a building without one of those, go to a small interior room on the lowest level. Stay away from windows and doors. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
If you are outside and can’t get to a building, try to go to a low, flat area. If you’re in a car, don’t try to outrun the tornado. Cover your head and neck with your arms, and cover your body with a coat or blanket if possible.
For more details on tornado prep, a good source is ready.gov/tornadoes.
As tornado season continues, let’s stay as safe as possible.