The National Weather Service in Topeka has announced the dates and locations for this year’s storm spotter and weather safety talks. The presentations are a great way to learn about how to visually identify potentially dangerous storms, develop a safety plan, and understand the role of meteorologists and local emergency personnel when bad weather strikes. Even if you’ve attended an NWS presentation before, it’s worth going again: the field of meteorology and emergency management is constantly changing as technology develops.
Other states offer storm spotter programs, too. Check with your local links for presentations in your area.
After last year’s drought, this spring’s series of rainstorms have been a welcome sight. I especially love driving through the countryside during these times, where nothing impedes the view of the clouds rolling in. Many Kansas storms seem to follow the I-35 corridor, and I ran into the rain turning at Beto Junction (the intersection connecting highways to Burlington, Emporia, Topeka, and Ottawa) on my way to Burlington.
After two substantial snowstorms, we enjoyed a wonderfully dreary, rainy day here in Ottawa. I’ve always loved dark days with rain and thunder; some of my favorite memories of being in old WPA school buildings include those moments when the sky was dark as night outside and the windows rattled with the storm.
A few stubborn piles of snow cling to the grass as heavy rain pounds on Ottawa, Kansas. Tree branches that came down during the February 26 snowstorm still litter many yards in our neighborhood.
Today’s thunderstorm is also a reminder that we’re about to move into the traditional season for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. If you’re in Kansas and want to learn more about how these storms develop and what you can do to maintain your safety, check the National Weather Service list of Spotter Talks. Their meteorologists do a fantastic job covering the basics of what conditions create severe storms and the precautions you can take at home or on the road.