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Severe Weather

Thunderstorm looking over play equipment

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are one of nature's most violent storms. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported across the United States, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Tornadoes can occur at any time, but peak tornado season in Lenexa is during the springtime.

Tornado warning vs. tornado watch

For the best indication of weather warnings, seek information from the National Weather Service or your favorite news weathercaster. Both will use common terminology to indicate the likelihood that a tornado may occur in our area.

  • Tornado watch – this means tornadoes are possible in our area, and you should be alert.

  • Tornado warning – this means that tornado has been seen by a trained spotter or indicated by radar. You should seek shelter immediately.

What to look for

Favorable indications for tornadoes include:

  • Dark, often greenish, sky

  • Large hail

  • Wall cloud

  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

What to do during a tornado warning

If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter in a basement or windowless room in the interior of the bottom floor of the building. Do not stay in your vehicle or try to outrun a tornado. Rather, lie flat in a ditch or depression.


Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are dangerous – injuring more than 300 people and killing more than 80 each year in the United States.

  • Warm, humid conditions make thunderstorms more likely.

  • About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe. This means it could produce hail at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter and has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher.

  • Lightening from a thunderstorm can strike as far as 10 miles away from rainfall.

Thunderstorm watch vs. thunderstorm warning

For the best indication of weather warnings, seek information from the National Weather Service or your favorite news weathercaster. Both will use common terminology to indicate the likelihood that a severe thunderstorm may occur in our area.

  • Severe thunderstorm watch – This indicates thunderstorms are likely to occur in the near future.

  • Severe thunderstorm warning – Indicates that a thunderstorm has been has been reported by spotters or on radar. You should stay indoors, if possible.

What to do during a thunderstorm

If possible, you should stay indoors during thunderstorms. If you are caught outdoors:

  • In a forest – seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

  • In an open area – Go to a low place, and be alert for flash floods.

  • On open water – Get to land and seek shelter immediately.

If you feel your hair stand on end, this indicates lightening is about to strike. Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground.