Roughly one year ago, a storm system moved out into the Great Plains. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), this storm system spawned 114 confirmed tornadoes over 10 states from April 13 to April 16, 2012. The state of Kansas saw 42 tornadoes overall, but five of the six strongest tornadoes struck the state, including an EF4 tornado in north-central Kansas. Mike Robinson, a former University of Kansas atmospheric science student, was out chasing that day and saw the EF4.
“When we saw it touch down, it was just amazing,” Robinson said. “It was just so polarizing to see something that big and that powerful up close and personal. It was Mother Nature’s way of saying you really need to be prepared at all times.”
April is just the start of the severe weather season. But it is always good to have a severe weather preparedness plan already thought of before the severe weather season starts, and to keep it updated for the different seasons. Mark Bogner, a broadcast meteorologist with KSNW-TV in Wichita, Kan., says it’s not wise to let your guard down anytime of the year.
“People in the Midwest are used to hearing all about severe weather, especially in the spring months,” Bogner said. “But the real truth is severe weather can happen anytime of the year. People are most concerned about the springtime tornadoes, but they also need to prepare for the summer heat and drought, or the winter blizzards.”
According to the NWS weather forecast office in Norman, the first thing to do in preparation for a springtime severe weather risk is to plan ahead. You should already have your storm shelter figured out, as well as have a supply kit already prepared. Some things suggested for the kit are food, water, a battery-operated television or radio, a cell phone and shoes. Bogner says most of these hold true for other seasons as well.
“Your winter survival kit is actually very similar to your spring one in terms of what’s in it,” Bogner said. “But key things to add to it would be blankets and cold-weather clothes so you can keep warm should the heat go out in your house or car. But overall, you just need to make sure you’re prepared no matter when.”