Tornado storms tear through Plains states

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 By

Picture of a tornado forming

Tornado forming. Image from Wikimedia Commons

On Monday, May 10, more than 40 tornadoes touched down across Kansas and Oklahoma.  Five people were killed and dozens injured as hailstones nearing baseball size fell from the sky.  Thousands are left without power across Kansas and Oklahoma.  Damage so far appears to be minimal, considering the power of the storms.  Large storm systems that unleash what are called “tornado families” can cause catastrophic damage, and it takes a lot more than a little instant cash to clear up.

Tornado family descends onto Great Plains

A large storm front moved into Oklahoma and Kansas over the weekend, and in the Great Plains area, there is always the risk of a tornado with any large storm front.  (As the Rocky Mountains block weather from the Pacific, it creates a low pressure area east of the mountains. Low pressure plus big storms equals bad news.)  More than 40 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma and Kansas, part of which was hail with stones almost 4 inches in diameter.

Oklahoma bore the brunt

All five fatalities and the bulk of the damage seem to have been confined to Oklahoma.  Two fatalities occurred in Oklahoma City and the other three in Norman.  Norman is in Cleveland County, directly south of Oklahoma County, where Oklahoma City is located.  According to the New York Times, a tornado warning and storm advisory were issued in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

There were a few in Kansas, Toto

Several tornadoes did touch down in Kansas, but the damage was less extensive.  A tornado touched down in Belmont, Kansas, according to ABC News, and caused some wind damage to homes and several overturned trucks on the Interstate.

Goes with the territory

Each region comes with unique weather patterns, affected by the regional geography.  The Great Plains area is commonly also referred to as Tornado Alley, because the region’s unique susceptibility to form tornado producing storms.  Tornado storms can cause far more damage more to the Southwest, as the Mississippi and Alabama tornadoes did several weeks ago. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association also maintains a website that watches for incoming weather patterns and storm warnings. A severe thunderstorm warning is still in effect for Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.

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