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Kansas Reaches Rare Milestone For Tornado-Free Weather

Niccolo Ubalducci
flickr Creative Commons

Kansas is about to make it through the end of April without a tornado for only the fourth time since record keeping began.

Storms have had a hard time forming this spring because several cold fronts have prevented moisture from the Gulf of Mexico from getting this far north.

“That’s an issue because you need moisture for thunderstorms,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Robb Lawson.

And it’s not just about tornadoes: The lack of storms has also led to significant drought in much of the state.

"That’s how we get most of our moisture is through thunderstorms,” Lawson said.

Weather patterns can change abruptly, though, and Lawson said he expects to see storms back in the forecast as early as Wednesday.

“It only takes one event with 15, 20 tornadoes and the next thing you know you’re at or above average,” he said.

During this same time period last year — January through April — Kansas had already experienced 15 tornadoes.

The last time Kansas went this long into a year without a tornado was almost 40 years ago in 1980. Before that, it happened only twice: in 1962 and 1967.


Brian Grimmett, based at KMUW in Wichita, is a reporter focusing on the environment and energy for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.