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  • Writer's pictureKansas Reflector

Kansas tornado count of 40 this year surpasses 2023 total

Updated: Jun 6

Storm chasers watch rotating clouds hovering over Gove and Ness counties May 1 in western Kansas. This year’s number of tornadoes in the state is now at 40. (AJ Dome)


By AJ Dome, Kansas Reflector


MANHATTAN — The number of tornadoes in Kansas to date has surpassed last year’s amount.


So far, 40 tornadoes have touched down in the state. For 2023, a total of 39 tornadoes were reported across Kansas.


Kansas State University assistant state climatologist Matt Sittel wrote in his April climate summary that 37 tornadoes were reported that month across the state. In his May 1-7 summary, Sittel said three more tornadoes were reported in the first week of this month.


A tornado was reported in Kearny County in southwest Kansas on May 3. Two more tornadoes were noted on May 6, one in Riley County and one in Chautauqua County. No injuries were reported with those three twisters.


Sittel said April was an “active month” for severe weather, with a total of 37 tornado reports, 14 of those on April 27.


The strongest tornado to strike Kansas so far this year was April 30 in Westmoreland. The Pottawatomie County community was hit by an EF-3 tornado, with winds estimated at 140 mph. Ann Miller, 58, died when her home was destroyed by the storm. She was a lifelong Pottawatomie County resident and long-time employee of the county health department.



The Westmoreland twister destroyed 22 homes and damaged several other structures, including the Pottawatomie County noxious weed building and two of the county public works department’s three-sided sheds. Recycling in Pottawatomie County was suspended because of storm damage, and most of the county’s chemical sprayers were mangled. The chemicals themselves were spared. Additionally, the extension office building lost some windows and part of its roof, and at least 30 county vehicles were damaged.


Westmoreland city officials said they were working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Association and insurance companies to determine a loss total from the April 30 storm. City council president Wade Purvis said during a May 9 meeting that the cleanup stage is “essentially over” and the recovery phase is underway.


Sittel said other modes of severe weather were observed in April, including a report of a three-inch hailstone April 25 in Sherman County. In total, 104 hail reports were tallied for the month, including 32 on April 25.


Two days later saw the highest number of high wind reports at 24. The fastest wind gust happened on April 18, when an anemometer recorded an 87 mph gust in Saint Marys.


For the first week of May, 74 reports of hail greater than one inch were tallied. Three-inch-sized hailstones fell on both May 1 and May 6. The largest stone measured 4.5 inches and fell in Gove County on May 1. The highest wind gust was also measured on May 1. A Kansas Mesonet instrument tower five miles north of Plainville in Rooks County recorded an 83 mph gust. No damage was reported with the peak gust.


Meteorologists with the National Weather Service office in Dodge City are forecasting the potential for scattered thunderstorms across the southwestern portion of the state through the end of the week. Temperatures may also rise to 90 degrees across parts of Kansas on Monday because of increased moisture in the region.


NWS Dodge City scientists wrote in their forecast discussion Tuesday that next week is the “stormiest time of year climatologically” for central and southwest Kansas. The last 10 days of May are traditionally the peak of the severe weather season, which can extend into June.


This article was reprinted with permission from the Kansas Reflector. The Kansas Reflector is a non-profit online news organization serving Kansas. For more information on the organization, go to its website at www.kansasreflector.com.

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