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The Status of The Drought: Where We Are & What’s To Come

Dry and Hot. That’s what we’ve been feeling, seeing, and hearing about for what seems like forever now. Official just as of last week, nationwide, January-June 2012 was the WARMEST start to the year on record! Here in the Central Plains, we are just now getting our first break from the approximately two-week long heat outbreak. During this time period, here in Kansas specifically, many records were broken. In Norton, KS, the high climbed to a burning 118 degrees, only a few degrees short of the state’s all-time record! Hill City reached 114-115 for multiple days in a row! Here in Hays, Kansas, we got up to 110-113 multiple days during the two-week heat wave. So after all of that, it’s very clear that this is not a normal summer. And it’s not just Kansas, it’s pretty much the whole U.S. that’s experiencing this abnormal activity.

Along with the extreme temperatures, is an extreme drought over portions of the US. Hardest hit areas include rainless Kansas, Colorado, and surrounding areas. So far this year in Hays, Kansas, we’ve only gotten 5.75″ since the first of the year, and that’s not the worst! The absence of the rain is making major dents in the crops, especially corn, and that’s really hurting farmers nationwide. Another major event this little amount of rain has caused here at home in KS is that for the month of July, Governor Brownback has declared a Drought Emergency for all of Western KS, and practically the whole state is under some sort of drought alert. Also at the beginning of July/end of June, an EMERGENCY DECLARATION was released for portions of North Central Kansas by the governor due to the extreme heat, dryness, and mainly, the multiple wildfires burning in this part of KS. Some communities were seeing a mini version of what was happening at the same time in Colorado Springs with the Waldo Canyon Fire. Even portions of West Lawrence were evacuated on July 5 due to a fire near Langston Hughes Elementary School. However come the weekend of July 7th, some beneficial rains came through bringing some much-needed relief to portions of Kansas. However in areas, these high rainfall totals were very isolated. For instance, in the small Southwest KS community of Protection, 4-5″ of rain fell during the weekend. Just less than a mile North of Protection, .10″ was recorded. This was the story for pretty much the whole state. Some places got it, some places didn’t, and now to transition on to the main part of our story today, if you didn’t see anything this last weekend, you missed out on the chance of seeing anything for at least the next two weeks. Below is the drought monitor map based off of data from the CPC on July 3, 2012.

Now many of us are beginning to wonder when and even if this heat and drought will end. I hate to break it to you, but in terms of the rest of July, it doesn’t look good. After our little wet weekend cooldown we will slowly see temperatures rise back into the mid-upper 90s through this week. I expect some areas will likely make it back up to if not above 100 degrees for highs come early next week if not this coming weekend. While we won’t be dealing with the 110-120 degree heat we had in weeks past, we will still be dealing with some very hot temperatures. In fact, starting next week, for some communities such as Hays, don’t be surprised to see once again multiple days in a row of highs above 100. Rainfall-wise, I don’t even really want to go there. As I said earlier on here, if you missed out on it this last weekend, that was the last good chance for rain for a while. I don’t see hardly ANY chances for rain in our future through the next 10 days. To tell the truth, I don’t see much hope for AT LEAST the next two weeks. So through the rest of July, don’t expect much relief from the heat or drought. Just expect life to continue as it has, hot, dry, and boring weather-wise. Below is a drought forecast for the next few months. After that, we continue to our conclusion.

Finally, let’s take a look at what to expect in the long-term. As I’ve told you before, long-term forecasting might as well be compared to throwing a dart at the dartboard in a dark room. It’s all pretty much an educated guess based off of historical patterns, long-term computer models, and so on… Let’s get to the point though. Overall through the rest of Summer, it looks like what we have will continue. I believe the story we’ll be living will be above normal temperatures, and likely slightly below to about average precipitation, providing hardly any relief for the drought. For the rest of the year, I expect we should start to see some relief on temperatures AND precipitation come September-October. I believe September, at least as it looks right now, should be a rather wet month, and the temperatures should be about average-slightly above average. October looks to bring slightly below average-average temperatures, with about average precipitation. November and December, I’m not even going to talk about yet! We’ll save that for the preliminary winter outlook!

Thanks for tuning in to read up on my views on the drought and what may be to come. Let me know if you have any questions or want to talk further about the subject by commenting below!

Brooks / Extreme & Lead Weather Forecaster of Cirrus Weather

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With Your Help, An Even Better Experience with Cirrus Weather is Coming Down the Road!

It’s official, Cirrus Weather has finally got a PayPal account set up! This new feature will hopefully in the near future bring a much better experience to you as the viewer. For this to happen though, we are going to be accepting donations. We aren’t requesting donations from people, we are just spreading the word about the new feature, and sharing the new features and plans for the future if we can get donations. All donations will be appreciated no matter what the actual donation is, and unless otherwise told, all donors will be listed on our “Contributors Page” on our new website when we get it set up. If you would like to learn more about Cirrus Weather, have any questions, comments, concerns, and more information on what we will do with the money that is donated, please contact us at!


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Where is the money going and what are we doing with it?

All money will stay with the company and ONLY be used for products we believe will benefit you. Below are some of the things we are wanting to get down the line.

  • A NEW & IMPROVED website that is official and has an actual domain
  • Low Grade Weather Station for the Forecast Center in Wichita
  • Office 2010 for the administrators that don’t have the program yet
  • GR Earth, an enhanced weather program that shows everything on a map from radar to temperatures to clouds and more. Also allows online usage of the radar by viewers like you!
  • And more! If you have ideas, feel free to email those to us too!

Have a great weekend!

-Cirrus Weather Team

Extreme Heat Expected for the Next Week, Possibly Beyond!

Several days straight of upper 90’s-upper 100’s will be likely through the next week, and possibly beyond. Some areas, especially in the Western 1/2 of the state, may make it to or even above 105-110 for highs during the next week! This heat may continue for not only this week, but possibly the week to follow. Below is the statewide 7 day temperature map, which is subject to change. May I please advise you all to NOT be outside unless you absolutely have to, and if you are outside, don’t be out for long. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, as well as wear sun screen and try to take a break as much as possible. Stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates on the extreme heat. For additional information on heat safety, go to

The Summer 2012 Forecast is Now Available!

The Official Summer 2012 Forecast for Cirrus Weather is NOW AVAILABLE! (CLICK HERE) This year’s Summer forecast is provided by and used with permission by our affiliates at Storm Central. Here’s a preview of the forecast…

A lot like May, June is going to be a roller coaster. Cool spells are going to slide in from the Northwest but the next week temperatures will sky rocket to above average. Much of the United States in June is going to be above average.


Thirteen Days of Pretty Much Nothing Weatherwise in Kansas… Is there anything coming soon?

[Cirrus Weather] April 30th, 2012. That was the last day we truly saw a lot of action in Kansas with severe weather. This was the day the tornadic storm went right through Greensburg, and multiple more storms rolled accross the Southern half of Kansas. May 2012 is usually on average the most active month of the year for tornadoes in Kansas, but not a single tornado report has been sent in so far for the month. Actually, not a single anything severe weather report has been submitted for Kansas during this month of May. So here is the big question, when is anything going to happen, or is anything even going to happen at all? For storm chasers and weather lovers, like myself, I hate to say that the forecast is not looking to bright for us. Trends are currently showing me that it’s going to continue to be a very boring pattern for the next two weeks, and possibly into the latter part of early June. Presently there is only one time period in between now and about June 10th, and that is around the 29th of May. Newest models updated this morning only show much of Kansas getting less than .25″ through June 1st. SO, all I can say on this is we can cross our fingers that we get something here at the end of the month, and hopefully once June gets here, the Summer will be a little more active than what we have had this May.

Here is my forecast for the Hays area through the end of May;

Sunday, May 13th, 2012 thru Saturday, May 19th, 2012: Temperatures ranging from the mid 70s-mid 80s, with lows ranging from the mid 40s -low 60s. No chances of precipitation, every day and night will be mostly clear. NO CHANCES FOR SEVERE AT THIS TIME.

Sunday, May 20th, 2012 thru Saturday, May 26th, 2012: Temperatures ranging from the low 80s to about 90-s with lows in the 50s and 60s. Very little if any precipitation is expected during this time zone. NO CHANCES FOR SEVERE AT THIS TIME.

Sunday, May 27th, 2012 thru Saturday, June 2nd, 2012: Temperatures at this time look to mainly be in the 80s-90s, with lows in the 50s-60s. At this time it looks like there may be a slight chance for severe thunderstorms towards the 29th, but we’ll have to see on that.


A Time to Remember

Right now, five years ago on Friday, May 4th, 2007, this normal day for Greensburg had officially came to an end. For nearly an hour now, the community had been under a tornado warning and everyone was preparing for the worst. Five years ago at this moment, the EF-5 tornado was tearing right through heart of Greensburg, destroying everything in its path. This tornado would change Greensburg forever. This tornado would change Kansas forever. This tornado would change America, forever. Five years ago tonight, the lives of eleven people were taken in Greensburg, as well as injuring sixty. While it is a miracle more people were not killed in this town that night, we cannot forget those we did lose. Five years ago it may have seemed it was the end of Greensburg, but tonight I am here to tell you, it was just the end of a chapter. In the years since the tornado, it is amazing how much progress has been made in Greensburg. A community has been reborn, brought back by the struggle and success of citizens coming together as one. Tonight, while there is a little bit of sorrow and despair, there is more of a feeling of celebration and thanksgiving. Five years ago right now, that tornado was indeed changing the lives of many as it tore through town, but right now, fear is not present, but peace is, as many people are gathering  at the Big Well in Greensburg for the memorial service. Greensburg has come a long way and from how it looks now, I can tell you the community has a very bright future. Greensburg, we made it.


I would like to thank you all for following us during this week of remembrance for the five year anniversary of the Greensburg tornado. These posts will remain available here on the blog forever. Thank you to those of you who contributed your stories and information for our posts. Have a good evening everyone! -Brooks

All of the posts this week were written by the CEO and Lead Forecaster of Cirrus Weather, Brooks. The information in the posts were made possible by the research put into this project, as well as stories and information sent into us by people and viewers from Greensburg.

Copyright Cirrus Weather May 2012

I was there that Night

This post consists of stories we received from viewers who were actually in Greensburg five years ago today. Another thing that makes this post special is that it was released at 6:15PM, which is the time the tornado watch was issued five years ago. We hope you enjoy these amazing stories that were sent into us by people who were there that night.


Sent in by Tony and Krystal Fisher of Hays (Previously Greensburg)

May 4th, 2007 started out like any other day for the Fisher family. We had only lived in Greensburg for three months so we were still getting settled in. I had a long hall at work that day so I left early so I could get home at a decent time. I got home around 5pm that afternoon. My wife had just got done painting my sons room and getting him settled in. I remember getting home and not wanting to leave again. The air conditioning felt very good on that hot and humid day. We had plans to go to Pratt for some shopping and dinner. On our way home from Pratt we received a call from my mother in law. She said there was a storm coming and they were taking shelter at the Greensburg senior center where they worked. We knew that if they were taking shelter things were getting bad because normally they were out looking at the storm. On our way home we began getting calls from concerned family members wondering where we were and telling us there was a tornado heading towards Greensburg. We decided to stop at Haviland and wait the storm out but soon changed our mind since it looked like the tornado may come close to Haviland. We decided to go back to Pratt and buy a car charger for our cell phone since the battery was about to go dead. Just as I came out of the gas station on the west edge of Pratt when I saw the emergency vehicles going west. We tried to get ahold of family in Greensburg without much luck. After a few minutes My sister-in-law finally got a call out to us. She said, “The town is destroyed and we are alright!” Then the phone went dead. We took off out of Pratt and headed west towards Greensburg. At Haviland they had the Highway blocked. Fortunately I knew a dirt  road around. When we arrived in Greensburg it looked like a bomb had went off. We managed to get within two blocks of Main Street where my in-laws were all at the senior center. As I walked up to Main Street we could see everyone standing outside the senior center that was some how still standing. I looked down Main Street from the north side of town looking south and it looked like we were standing in a valley with hills on both sides the hills were what was left of the brick buildings that once lined Main Street.  After checking on family we turned and went towards our house to check on our neighbor that took shelter in our basement . Since we lived on the east side of town we hoped our house was spared but had no such luck. Walking up to our house we saw that it was gone. The roof was in the neighbor’s yard up against her house and the walls were collapsed on each other with our belongings scattered all over the place.  Our neighbor that was in the basement was already gone helping other people in town and our dogs were safe and sound in what was left of the house. We decided to walk over to what was left of the Dillons grocery store where everyone was supposed to meet. There were people walking around confused some injured and a lot of elderly that didn’t know what to do. We met our family there. My Father and mother in law said they had a friend coming to get them and my brother and sister-in-law had decided to take the bus to the shelter in Haviland. We were lucky enough to still have our car and decided to go stay with family in Garfield.  Finally at four in the morning we got a chance to rest and let what had just happened settle in. When you realize that everything you own is scattered all over the place and you will soon be competing with hundreds of other people for the few available houses in the neighborhood you start to panic.  We were not allowed back in Greensburg until Monday the 7th. My aunt and uncle followed us to town that morning to help pick up what was left of our life. Pretty much everything was lying there in the rubble of our house (except the wheel to my car trailer that someone helped themself to)  but most of it was ruined by the rain during the weekend while we weren’t allowed in. After picking up our lives we had about four pickup loads of belongings and most of that was ruined from the rain. We found a one bedroom in Pratt it was a little cramped with five of us living in it but we were lucky to have it. We stayed there for a couple of months until we moved to Hays. The bright light of the whole situation was the overwhelming support from friends, family, complete strangers, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.  In the years following there is hardly a day we don’t think of what was beginning to be a great life in Greensburg.  Anytime there is a thunderstorm in the area the kids get nervous and start putting there possessions in bags to keep with them because they know what it is like to lose everything. In closing I would like to thank everyone that helped us get through the Greensburg tornado .

People begin cleaning up after the tornado in Greensburg. Picture sent into us from Tony & Krystal Fisher. Click on the photo to view full album.


Sent in by Tami J. of Greensburg

May 4, 2007 was just another normal day for our family. Kids off to school and I headed to Pratt for work. My husband stayed in town that day to work in our yard. He hauled rock in the driveway and sprayed the yard for weeds. Also  the next weekend was graduation for our middle son, Brenden. The day was very nice, sunny and warm. My husband had stayed in town until our other 2 children got out of school. After school they (husband-Marvin, daughter-Dalaina & son-Weston) went out to the farm/ranch to get ready for our Ranch Branding the next day. After working I stopped to buy flowers at Dillons and their storm radio went off. I decided I needed to head home. Brenden had a golf meet in Coldwater but they came home earlier because of the storms. Brenden and I both got home and Brenden decided he would take his truck to the bank to park it under the awning so it wouldn’t get hail damage. I told him I would come and pick him up and he wanted to stay and watch the storm. Because our cellar is in the middle of the yard we always got shoes and jackets ready to head outside when we might have bad weather. So I was still in my work clothes but got my purse, boots and jacket ready, and also had a blanket. Then for some unknown reason I got a little cooler bag and put a bottle of water, banana and some dog food in it. I had the tv on and also listening to the police scanner. I had called my family out at the farm and told them we were going to have a storm so stay out at the farm till it passes. Also talked to my mother in Dodge City and sister in Minnesota. I told them that if the scanner went off I would be in the cellar in the southwest corner. I heard on the scanner that the tornado was south of us on 183 and it had taken out a tank battery by Cleon Parkins place. Then the sirens went off. It was getting close so I called Brenden and he had went to a friend’s house (across from the Big Well) and they were in the basement. I had a hold of Jersey’s collar and headed outside to the cellar. It was raining a little and the siren going off Jersey got scared and got out of her collar. I tried to lift her and get her into the cellar but I couldn’t handle her. She weights over 100 lbs. I grabbed the 2 outside cats and took them to the cellar but they just ran back outside because we didn’t have doors on the cellar. Jersey went back to the front door of the house and so I went into the house and I took my belt off and used it for a leash/collar, grabbed some dog treats and headed back to cellar. We sat in the southwest corner of the cellar. I phoned my sister again to tell I was in the cellar and then the phone went dead. The sirens quit so I called Brenden and the phone worked, I asked him if the storm was over. He said, “Oh No mom! Stay in the cellar, it’s coming!” The wind got stronger and stronger. I held onto Jersey, covered us with a blanket and prayed!!! The wind got stronger and stronger. I was scared!!!!! Then all of a sudden it was quiet, then here it came again. Some say it was the front of the storm then the eye passed over making it calm then the back side of the tornado was the wind again. Others say that they could hear a train sound, glass breaking, wood being ripped apart. All I could hear was the very strong winds. I sat in the cellar waiting, wondering when it would end. I then could hear neighbors yelling. I came up the stairs and yelled back that I was ok. I looked out and the semi trailer that sat in our yard was gone and so was our other 2 car garage that housed our jeep and pickup, the jeep & pickup were sitting there all beat up!! There was a strong smell of wet cedars and wood. Brenden and Omero came to make sure I was ok. I said what about the electricity, as I didn’t want anyone to get shocked. He said it was shut off so we were good to go. I wrote a note to my husband on a napkin and left it in the cellar, thinking he would see it and know I was ok. Omero took a blanket I had in the cellar and gave it to a lady down the road, she was cold and wet. Brenden headed south on main street to check on his girlfriend and her family. Jersey and I started checking on neighbors. After the storm you could hear car alarms & lights flashing on cars that were smashed, smoke alarms in homes sounding. All around town where flashing lights of emergency vehicles. It was a very stressful evening. I tried to stay on the south end of town waiting for my family to come into town. They couldn’t get in the south way because of trees being down. It took us 2 hours before we found each other. They had been to the hospital thinking I would be there. Water was up over my husband’s boots because of the water tower falling. When we found each other we went back to our house and this was the first time I looked at it. Our dog that had been in a dog pen was now in our house under the table, he was scared to death. We walked to the pickup that Marvin parked on the east side of town and we took the dog and 1 of our cats to the farm. We left the animals and the kids at the farm and went back to town. We met up with team members of K9 Search and Rescue of Kansas. Came back out to the farm for a little while and then headed back into town to search. This was very emotional. Into the searches we were called off because more storms where coming. My team members worked in Greensburg the next week.
My son Brenden stepped on a nail that night. Went to Pratt ER the next day and got a tetanus shot. The rest of the family got tetanus shots on the streets of Greensburg the next week. My husband, Jersey and myself was treated the next week for upper respiratory infection. My step-dad helped clean up after the tornado also got an upper respiratory infection and ended up in the hospital.

The tornado just as it was moving into Greensburg on May 4th, 2007 around 9:45pm.


Sent in by Pamela Muntz of Greensburg

My daughter Mary and her 3 children were living with me at the time of the tornado. They were 6 ,4 and 2. We had gone to the basement and planned to spend the night there. The power went off and we were making shadow puppets with the candles we were using for light. The hail was so large it was breaking the covers on the basement window wells. When my ears began to pop I told my daughter we needed to get in the bedroom. It was just about 4ft to the bedroom and as I tried to shut the door I could feel it trying to suck the door open. We put the kids on the bed and covered them up with a quilt. We knew the house was being destroyed above us and the feeling of helplessness was overwhelming. The 6 year old was crying because he knew something was really wrong. The other 2 were too scared to make a sound. When the tornado had passed we made our way upstairs and found the dog had made it through the storm unhurt. We had to get out of the house through the picture window as all the doors were blocked with debris. There were 2 men from Mullinville that had walked in from the West edge of town to help. They were there to get us out of what was left of our home. It was just the beginning of the many acts of kindness shown to Greensburg by volunteers.

The Greensburg High School after the tornado; all that was left standing was the entrance to the building.


Highlight Story

Sent in by Megan Gardiner

May 4, 2007 was a night that changed not only my life but 1,500 other lives too.  I just thought of it as a normal day of the week, Friday to be exact.  The tornado was rated and EF-5, which is the largest and most devastating tornado, and I was a part of it.

Friday morning I woke up and as usual, I was dreading going to school.  On the other hand, I was excited it was Friday as that meant I could hang out with my friends later.  I went to school and the track kids left around 12:45 or so and the golf kids left at 1:00 p.m.  State Forensics was that day and weekend and they left sometime during the day also.  The thing that I remember the most that day was getting new desks in my Math/Chemistry classroom.  My friend, and I put most of them together and that took all hour.  Then, like always, the day just went on as normal.  No one expected anything to come later that night.

After school I had to go to work at 4:00 p.m.  I worked at the Lunch Box in town.  I went home and changed into my Lunch Box T-shirt, shorts, tennis shoes and put my hair in a messy bun.  I drove to work and got there at my normal time and did my normal routine.  I heard earlier that day we were supposed to get some storms but I also heard that the next day, storms were supposed to be worse than May 4th, so of course, I didn’t think much of it when the TV said we were in a tornado watch.  Since it was Friday night, people don’t want to cook so we were very busy until 8:45.  Usually we stop being busy around 8:00 p.m. and I can get most of the dishes done early.  Well, the clouds started to look kind of funny.  Darcy, (my boss) turned on the TV to the weather and you know, it wasn’t that bad near us.  (Ha, Ha, little did we know the worst was yet to come).  Then after a little while, Darcy’s cell phone kept ringing and it was her family saying the storm is supposed to be real bad and we needed to hurry and get out of there.  I looked out and all it was doing was sprinkling.  Around 9:15 p.m. I took the trash out and that was the most scary lightening I have ever seen.  One of my co-workers was taking a smoke break at that time.  I said, “Man, I wanted to hang out with my friends tonight but I guess I won’t be doing that, will I”?  He said, “Yeah, I know, I had some plans and now I’ll probably just stay home, but hopefully it won’t be too bad”.  Well, we both went back in after looking at the amazing lightening show and went back to work and tried to get as much done as we could.  Then the two front people left because all their work was done around 9:30 p.m.  As I was trying to hurry and do dishes I grabbed my cell phone and put it in my bra because I figured my parents would call me and tell me to get home.  The only person that got through to me was by best friend, Megan.  Of course I didn’t answer it because of the “No cell phone” policy at work.  About 5-10 min. later the tornado sirens started to go off.  I ran out to the front to look out the window.  The sky was pretty dark and all I saw was lightening.  It wasn’t even raining.  I went back and did the dishes as fast as I could and was putting them away fast!  People kept calling Darcy and she was in the middle of cleaning the grill and the fryers and she wouldn’t leave them.  She didn’t say I could go either so I stayed and was doing my job still.  The sirens were going off for about 10 minutes and I was thinking, well they just spotted one out in the country and it’s a false alarm and these sirens should go off any minute, but they didn’t.  I was kind of starting to get a little worried and finally I dropped my dishes and I told Darcy I was leaving.  She said, “That’s fine, go on and get out of here”.  Well, while I was clocking out I remembered she lived out in the country and so I said, “Darcy, come to my house if you need to.  Just go on down the stairs”.  She said, “OK, thanks I might do that”.  As I got in my car it was barely sprinkling and the lightening was as bad as it was earlier.  The speed limit in town is 30 mph, but I went 50-60 mph because by then, my heart was pumping and my adrenaline was going.  Luckily I didn’t get stopped by a cop and I made it home with tornado sirens still sounding.

I literally ran into my house because I was afraid I was going to get struck by all the lightening.  When I busted through the front door my dad was up there with a flashlight waiting for me.  He said, “Grab your purse and lets go downstairs”.  This I thought was odd because normally dad stays upstairs and watches the clouds and ignores the sirens.  While we were heading down there he said that our neighbors were over here and that’s when I realized that was why he was going downstairs, because we had company! They were all glad I made it home and was safe.  The two little girls were laying the big pillow I made a few years back watching TV and the little boy, Owen, was playing with my dogs.  I told my parents I told Darcy to come over so if she shows up they would expect her.  About that time I realized I had a lock box with $1,000 in it upstairs in my room.  My mom said I better run and get it.  So again, I really did run.  Then I was just scanning my room to see if I wanted to grab anything else.  That’s the last time I ever saw my room.  I passed my bathroom going back downstairs and I looked in there.  I saw my retainers and wouldn’t you know it, I grabbed them too!  I was really reluctant though, because I knew a tornado wasn’t going to hit and I didn’t want to have to put them back up.  I ran back downstairs and was sitting on the couch.  Owen was trying to go out in the hallway so I hurried and sat there so he couldn’t get through.  We sat there and were talking for awhile.  Then he started to say how he liked tornados and didn’t like tomatoes.  This kid is probably 3 or so.  Natalie, his mom, said he gets those mixed around.  After she said that, that made sense.  Now I was on track with him from that point on.  Well, my dad was looking out the basement window and he said, “Meg, does Darcy drive a truck”?  I said, “yeah”.  He said, “Well a truck just pulled up in Omero’s driveway (our neighbor)”.  Omero, dad and I went back upstairs.  All this time the sirens are still going off and we shined a light over there and Omero whistled.  It turned out to be one of Omero’s friends.  He ran over to our house and by now it is hailing at least quarter size hail and the wind picked up a lot.  We went back downstairs and stayed there for awhile.  I was watching the weather and Dave Freeman said it was going to hit Greensburg at 9:52 p.m.  I was like, well, we have 5 minutes; that is if he is right.  Then the hail got real big and I said, “I wonder how bit it is”.  Omero, Kyle and dad went upstairs and went outside and got a couple of pieces.  They were probably golf ball or a little larger.  Then Owen came back and started to talk to me again.  Everyone was downstairs now.  Sirens still sounding and I looked at my phone and it said 9:49 p.m. so I got down by the couch and grabbed a pillow and a blanket.  The wind picked up furiously.  The power goes out and I was thinking Oh Boy, but the wind was so bad I didn’t think it would ever get that windy.  I put the blanket around me to get ready and by this time all 3 of Omero’s kids were whining and were really scared.  I sat down facing the couch getting ready to crouch down, when all of a sudden my ears started to pop really bad.  I mean this was worse than going in a plane or diving deep under the water.  This just hurt.  It was probably one of the worst feelings I have ever felt.  I thought it was just me so I said, “My ears are popping and hurt real bad”.  Then my parents and Omero’s family said the same thing.  I was like, Oh My Gosh, this can’t be good.  Since this has never happened  before, I thought this could get bad, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking nothing ever happens to Greensburg so my house isn’t going to get hit by a tornado.  (Ha, Ha, was I wrong or what?!)  I looked at my phone and it said 9:50 p.m., so I was like, well I think I’m going to take cover now because the hail and wind were just horrible.  Earlier, I said I got my lock box and my purse.  I set them by the doorway where I sat, which was probably a foot or two away from the couch.  Well, the wind and sirens were still going and I reached around and grabbed my purse and put it under me.  When I was doing that it seemed like it just got deathly silent.  I bet if someone dropped a pen on the ground u would be able to hear it a mile away.  I mean this was freaky.  I remembered one of my friends from Pratt who went through a tornado a few years ago said it got so still and quiet and I knew this was it!  After I got my purse I tried to reach and get my lock box but as I stuck my hand out, the windows exploded!  They shattered into millions of pieces.  I didn’t see it but hearing it was enough.

Now, this part is hard to describe in words, but I heard the walls tearing and ripping off into pieces.  Then something fell on my left shoulder and I had my head covered with my hands (like the drills we do in school).  When they fell on me I decided to brace myself so I took my hands off my head and was on all fours.  The sound was like a jet engine going right over us, about to take off.  Just hearing the house rip into shreds was horrible.  While this was happening my shirt and blanket started to fly up and I was thinking, Oh My Gosh, I’m going to get glass and crap up my back and I’m going to get cut.  But then something even heavier fell on top of my mom and I guess she was kind of on top of me to protect me.  Anyway, something fell in on her neck and she couldn’t move.  She started to scream bloody murder.  The tornado was still going but I tried to yell at her and ask her if she was OK.  She didn’t reply.  She kept screaming and I was thinking Oh My Gosh, she is going to die.  I’ve got to talk to her and make sure she is alright.  I kept saying, “Mom, Mom, are you OK?  Are you alright?”  She finally said “No, I have something on my neck”.  I said, “Stay calm and it will be over in a minute”.  I mean we had to yell really loud because the wind was so overpowering us we could barely hear one another.  It sounded as if she was in the next room over.  What seemed like a lifetime finally came to an end.  Then I started to yell, “Is everyone OK?  Dad, are you OK”?  He didn’t answer so I kept yelling for him.  I thought he was dead.  Then Mom and I yelled at the same time and he answered that he was OK.  I asked Mom again if she was alright.  She said, “Yeah, kind of”.  We stayed there for awhile because we weren’t sure if it was over.  Then I heard a man’s voice say, “Is everyone OK?  Is anyone hurt?  I can get you out of here but the stairs are blocked so we’ll have to find a different way out”.  I thought this man was a rescuer and I was thinking, now how long were we really down there if he is a rescuer.  It turns out it was just Kyle (Omero’s friend).  We all replied “Yeah, we are OK”.  I managed to make my way up out of the rubble.

Dad had Joe (our Boxer dog) on the leash pretty much the whole time.  That way he couldn’t go anywhere.  When the windows exploded Joe jumped up and got loose from my dad’s grip on the leash.  Mom and I were screaming for him.  I felt him brush against my leg so I tried to grab for him while I was under cover, but all I grabbed was debris.  I had no clue where Joe went and neither did anyone else.  After the tornado passed and we got up one of the first things I asked was, “Where is Joe”?  Dad said Cheyenne (our pug) was fine but we didn’t know where Joe went.  I was thinking, Oh My Gosh, he is gone and dead.  When I shown the flashlight everywhere, I spotted Joe snuggled up on the couch where my dad took one of the cushions off to cover himself up with.  Well, Joe was laying there and all you could see was his head because there were 2 boards that were on top of him protecting him.  We got him out and started to make our way up.

I turned and saw the roof was covering my feet and the wall fell on us and some other boards and stuff.  I helped my mom up and when everyone made their way out of the rubble I grabbed my purse and a flashlight and was determined to find a way out.  The whole basement was destroyed.  I shined the light every direction to see where the best place to crawl out was.  It took me awhile to decide what path I was going to take but I finally thought I found one.  I started to head up and crawled on top of things that weren’t very sturdy, but I made it up.  I looked around and pretty much the whole block was gone.  Then Omero climbed up and handed me one kid at a time.  Owen was the last kid and he wouldn’t let me go, so I had a kid hanging on me while I was trying to help Natalie up and the other adults.  Ever since the tornado hit it was raining.  When a few of us were out of the basement it started to hail a little bit. Probably 20-30 minutes later, we got out of the basement.  We looked back and there was nothing left.  “Where do we go”, someone asked and it seemed like we were trapped in our own yard because the rubble was piled so high we couldn’t find a way to get out.  While we were finding a way out I spotted a car battery charger I won at the After Prom so I picked it up and carried it with us.  We managed to make it to the street.  I looked across the road and saw that most of the school was gone on our side.  You know, you always think it would be awesome if a tornado would hit your school but let me tell you, I was shocked and kind of disappointed.  We heard some voices down the street and shined the light on them.  They were a few houses down the street but we all made a big group and were walking south.  We saw the house cattycorner to us was still standing (so we thought) so we were going to go there to get shelter.  As we got close the roof was gone but we smelled gas.  We yelled in at them to get out.  They worked their way out the window and someone said “Well, where do we go?  We have to get shelter”.  About then is where the wind picked up big time, it was making me blow away, kind of like when you walk a big dog and they take off running and pull you.  My dad said, “Lets go to the hospital”.  We all started to head for the hospital.  The wind was getting stronger and I was certain there was going to be another tornado.  We started to head down the street and my mom was totally confused and I had to tell her where we were at.  While I was doing that I was watching for the outline of a tornado coming towards us because the wind was so bad.  I had to squat down a few times so it wouldn’t have blown me over.  There were power lines down and we had to straddle them.  The hospital was only 2 ½ blocks away from our house and we met  more people on the way over there.  So the people decided to follow us because they didn’t know where to go. When we got there I realized I had been stepping on something for quite awhile.  Dad unlocked the door we were at, and got us in.  Only part of the hospital was still standing but we made it to the basement.  I took my shoe off and looked and there was a shingle and a nail shoved up in my shoe.  My dad and another nurse pulled it out.  It didn’t go in my foot thank goodness.  By then I was thinking about all my friends and wondering if they were OK.  Right off the bat, after I pulled the nail out of my shoe, one of my friends that works at the hospital hugs me and says, “Why don’t you go to the physical therapy room.”  I walked behind her looking at everyone down there and thinking this place is going to be so bad if another tornado comes with all these old and handicap folks.  But my mom, Omero’s family and I went to the same room.  Omero said he was going back after his dog, Sadie.  My dad went to work and my mom was going to help if she could.  Well, after I sat down, I realized I had some cuts on me, but nothing major.  Natalie’s kids changed clothes into a gown from the hospital.  We were all soaked from the rain and hail walking there.  I covered my dogs up and went into the hall where by now, there was a lot more people out here.  I went around and asked people if they needed anything and they said, “Water”.  I was handing out water for a little bit when I realized someone needs to call my brother.  I went up and out the back door to try to get service and I finally got a hold of him after about 3 tries.  Then of course, we lost signal and it would took about 3 more tries to get him again.  I looked around the corner and saw so many ambulances.  I didn’t know that many towns would come.  I just figured Pratt and Dodge would be the only ones but I saw Buffalo, Kinsley, Comanche County and there were many more.  By seeing all those ambulances in town, I figured this must have been a pretty bad tornado.  Matt, my brother, was in Wichita watching Spiderman 3 at this time and when I said our house is gone but we are safe, he said he was on his way.  I knew he probably wouldn’t get through but I wasn’t going to argue.  I went back downstairs and by that time the physical therapy room accumulated a few more kids.  I was thinking great, I’ll be babysitting all night tonight, and my thought was right.  Around 12 or 1 a.m. I finally convinced the kids that it was way past their bedtimes and got some blankets and pillows and they went to sleep.

There are 2 sections in the physical therapy room.  You pull the curtain to divide it.  My dad brought in a man that was yelling and screaming and in major pain.  They put him on the bed next to us.  Natalie and I said, “Let’s go back to the other section”.  We took all the kids back there and settled down.  I didn’t know if that man had open wounds on his leg so we thought it would be safer to not take a chance and let the kids see.  After they cleared a path for the ambulances they got that guy out and we went back to the other side.  I  had to pee and of course, the water and electric stuff wasn’t working, so the toilets were like port-a potties with the smell!.  I decided to go outside between cars parked in the back of the parking lot.  I did that a couple of times while we were there.  I didn’t know where we were going to go that night, and figured we would stay there until morning; then hopefully get hold of someone to come get us.  I went back to the physical therapy room, now it was late and the nurses were trying to put the BHU (Behavioral Health Unit) patients to sleep on mattresses on the floor.  The first guy they were going to put in my room had to poop.  He was in a wheelchair and they wouldn’t be able to get him in the bathroom so they said to hold it or go in your pants and we will lay you down.  He said no and was arguing with them for quite a bit.  He ended up staying in his chair and I don’t know if he ever went poop or not.  Then this old woman was walking down the hall and she was cussing the nurses out and saying, “Let me go”, and she started to come in the physical therapy room with all the kids.  Well, I didn’t want her in there so I got up and started to shut the door on her.  A man grabbed her and said it’s OK and to calm down and that she didn’t need to yell.  Then the crazy lady said, “Let go of me, what you think you know how to handle a woman, well you’re wrong”.  As they continued their conversation I got the door shut.  Then, they brought in some other patients to lay there but they went right to sleep so they didn’t bother me.  Most of the night I sat with my mom, Natalie and my dogs with the kids but I was still a little wound up.  I couldn’t sleep, even though I was tired.  I was getting cold because I still had on my wet clothes and didn’t change or anything.  I found a blanket and covered up with that and just leaned against the wall and let everything soak in.

Natalie’s sister came from Dodge City to take them back there.  We all said our good-byes and they left.  We asked Omero if he could call my grandparents and tell them we were all OK when they got to Dodge and he said, “It’s the least we can do.”  Then it was just 2 kids, my mom and I in the room.  One of my friends saw me and he came in and talked to us for a little while.  I lost track of time but I was talking to my mom when all of a sudden all of our camping buddies walked in.  I think my jaw actually dropped when I saw them.  Then my mom turns to see what I was looking at and she gets up and starts to cry while she was hugging them all.  At that point I knew we were saved.  Honestly, they were the last people I expected to see.  I never would have expected them to come up and save us.  Mom asked if they were camping and they said, “Yes and we tried to call all you guys and couldn’t get through and we couldn’t wait any longer so we said screw it and hopped in the truck and headed here”.  My dad came down and talked to Terry and said, “Why don’t you take the dogs, Julie and Megan to Coldwater and they can stay at the camper”.  As we were getting into Terry’s truck we saw Matt and my Aunt Marge and Uncle Don.  I jumped out and ran over and hugged them.  Matt’s friend, Dylan, was with him too.  We said we were leaving but asked if they could stay and wait for dad and take him to Coldwater when he was finished.  We were then on our way and the clock said 4:00 a.m.  I wanted to go get my lock box out of the basement so I asked Terry if we could run by the house and grab it.  Mom said “No I don’t want to go back.” But Terry and the other guys said they would look for it.  They got to the house and tried to get done to the basement but they didn’t grab the right lock box, I said that was OK and then I wanted to get out of there.

As we were driving, power lines were down and there were dead cows on the side of the road.  There is a gas plant between Greensburg and Coldwater and we smelled a lot of gas so we called 911 and told them there was a gas leak out 6 miles from Greensburg.  We arrived to the camper, Mom and I talked to some friends and went and showered at the bath houses.  I had debris in my hair when I took out my messy bun, crap just fell out and I got a cut on my head that killed me when soap/shampoo got in it.  I went back to the camper and pulled the bed out and tried to sleep, but I just couldn’t.  Right as I started to doze off, the boys came into the camper, around 5:30 a.m.  Then, my dad went and showered.  I didn’t go to sleep after that really, but just ½ hr. or so.  We got up and ate breakfast at our friend’s camper and on their TV it said more severe storms again in our part of the state.  Oh Boy, none of us wanted to go through what we just went through so we decided to go stay with some friends in Pratt.  By now, everyone and their dog were calling and texting me to see if I was OK.  Around 2 or 3 p.m. we left Coldwater in Matt’s car and my aunt and uncle followed.  We were going to see if we could go back to Greensburg and kind of look around.  We pulled up and there was a National Guard guy that said, “Sorry Sir, Martial law is still in effect and no one can enter”.  We took some country roads around Greensburg and got back to Pratt.  We arrived at one of our friend’s house and turned on the news.  Of course, they won’t let Greensburg residents enter but they will let every news channel there ever was in to take pictures and videos of it.  Now to me, that just doesn’t make any sense at all.  My other Aunt Hedi from Hutchinson, came down on Sunday and let us use one of their cars for as long as we needed to.  That same day Nancy Kisner, another P.A. in Greensburg, called dad and wanted us to go down there and help get some hospital stuff out of there before it got water damage to it, so we drove to Greensburg and had to go sign in at a place.  When we pulled into town it started to rain hard.  I was worried another tornado might come.  We went through town and saw all the destruction.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I mean again, there are no words to describe the devastation we saw.  It’s nothing like the pictures and TV.  In real life it’s 100 times worse because you can see everything just shredded and ripped into pieces.  We made it to the hospital and it’s still raining even harder.  We go downstairs and clean off the shelves then Matt comes in and says he had to move his car away because it started to flood by his car.  The water was probably ½ft to 1 ft. high.  Dad gets a call from his sister and says there is a tornado heading straight for Greensburg again.  I was like great, just what we need.  One thing I never want to go through again and it is going to be here, 2 days in a row!  We were in the basement and safe.  I was forming my game plan in my head.  There were a lot of mattresses people slept on the night before on the floor and I was going to pull them over me if anything would hit.  The bad thing was the tornado sirens were taken out the tornado so they wouldn’t sound if one was spotted coming.  We made it out OK.  Nothing ever came, just a little hail and lots of rain but that was it.  We had to check out where we checked in and then we went back to Pratt.

We stayed in the Ray’s house for about a week.  I felt bad for invading their space but I mean what else can we do.  We managed to salvage a few things in the rubble.  I was the only one that couldn’t locate my room in the rubble.  Everyone else found things of theirs but I didn’t find anything except the rubies which were in my parent’s room.  We lived in an apartment in Hayter’s basement and it was small and cozy.  We lived there for the whole summer, at the end of July we moved into a FEMA trailer in Greensburg.  People may say, “Oh I’m so sorry I know what you are going through”.  Actually they don’t.  You have no idea until it happens.  We were really sore for at least a week after it happened because of everything that fell on top of us.  That’s the kind of stuff people don’t understand.  If you don’t think anything is exciting in your town, and you live in tornado alley, believe me, that could change in about 4 minutes that’s about how long the tornado lasted.  I never want to experience that again.  One is enough and one too many for me.  It will turn your whole life upside down.  Now I hate to say, but I get very paranoid when a storm comes.  Even if it isn’t bad, my memory flashes back to that night.  May 4th changed 1500 people’s lives when the EF-5 tornado came through, and only 1500 people can say they were in an EF-5 tornado.  I was one of them.


Thank you to those who sent in these stories. We hope you enjoyed this post and will join us again for our final post at 9:45PM this evening, A Time to Remember. All information in this post belongs to the people at the beginning of each story. Each story was used with permission and were submitted to us by those people.

Greensburg, KS | Join us for a week of remembrance starting April 30th thru May 4th

Tornado damage in Greensburg the day after the EF-5 tornado rolled through the town. Photo copyright Mike Theiss

(LEFT) 5 years ago in one week (May 5th) this is the scene many people saw when the sun rose on the morning of May, 5th, 2007 in Greensburg, Kansas. The night before, one of the largest and most damaging tornadoes in US history at the time, rolled right through the heart of the small Southwest Kansas community. The EF-5 tornado destroyed 95% of the town, and was an estimated 1.7 miles wide, with winds around 205mph. In Greensburg alone, the storm took the lives of eleven people, also injuring 60, and thirteen total lives were taken from the storm overall. While that is not good that people were killed, it is amazing that more people were not. This shows how well the people were prepared, and the advanced warnings they got on the coming storms. They were in fact prepared for the worst, as the National Weather Service had been saying for a while that this was not going to be good. That “the big one” was going to happen somewhere in between May 4th and 7th.

While during the minutes the tornado was roaring overhead, while during the next morning when the full wrath of the tornado could be seen, and even during the next weeks and months to come it may have seemed like there was no hope for Greensburg, that changed. Greensburg has been building back up from the rubble for the past five years, and in ways is somewhat back to normal in areas, even though they never will be actually back to normal. As of April 2012, part of their whole downtown has been reconstructed filled with businesses that have come back and new ones as well. The City Hall and Kiowa County Commons have also been rebuilt, as well as a few banks, churches, and a lot of homes have also been built back up or remodeled South of Hwy 54. Also, the courthouse, which was literally one of the last structures still standing in that part of the town, has been redone and is now open again, as well as the high school, which was completely destroyed except for the two front doors, is now open again and thriving as a much nicer facility, known as “Kiowa County Schools”  serving all grades for the county. Then there is the hospital, which was also completely destroyed, that now stands right on the highway when you drive into the West side of town, and in my opinion, is the nicest looking hospital in all of Southwest Kansas. Now being rebuilt is the community’s  movie theater and the well-known BIG WELL museum, which will be right under that new water tower, where the old one once stood. The city has now become known not only for its tornado, but also as one of the greenest towns in America, as they are trying to build all of the buildings with eco-friendly material. Before the tornado, there were about 1,500 people who resided in Greensburg. After the tornado many people moved away, but slowly people are moving back and as of 2010, 777 people once again live in the small town.

So, as it seemed back right after the worst possible happened for the town that there may be no hope, there was, and strong hope too. The citizens came together as one, and brought back Greensburg even better than anyone could have imagined. That night on May 4th, 2007, lives were changed forever. But now, a community has been reborn. Through struggle and success, a new and exciting future has been created. I invite you to join us for a week full of stories, facts, remembrance, and more starting Monday, May 30th thru Friday, May 4th in memory of the Greensburg tornado and all of the lives affected by it, as well as in celebration for the success of the community and the future in store for Greensburg, Kansas, a community rebuilding, greener, better, and STRONGER.

For more information, please email us at Be sure to stay tuned for a week full of great posts about the tornado and Greensburg.  Below is our tribute to Greensburg…

Hot in the middle and a little cool on the end with a chance for storms

Click the graph above for the forecast Temperatures for Hays, Kansas

It still sure is looking like we may be experiencing some very hot and possibly record-breaking temperatures in some areas over the next few days. The hottest days this week are expected to be Tuesday and Wednesday, with some highs in the state of Kansas topping out in between 95 and 100! Yes, that is right! Tuesday expect highs in the low 90s in Northwest KS, upper 90’s in Southwest Kansas, Upper 80’s in Southeast Kansas, and upper 80’s in Northeast Kansas. Wednesday expect highs in the upper 80’s in Northwest KS, upper 90’s in Southwest KS, mainly upper 80’s in Southeast KS, and mainly low 90’s in Northeast KS. Thursday into Saturday we will be cooling down big time. On all of these days expect temperatures starting generally statewide in the 70s-low 80’s Thursday, to mainly 70’s on Friday, and then down to the 60’s on Saturday all over KS. Right now the weather looks quiet through Wednesday night over the state, but we are keeping an eye on Thursday into Saturday, Thursday especially. This weather threat is still up in the air, but at this time (Monday Evening) it does look like the higher threats would exist on Thursday from Northwest Kansas into the South Central part of the state. Below here is the preliminarysevere outlook for Thursday along with the forecast temperature maps for Tuesday through Saturday. Check them out below!

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Up and down on the Temps but Overall a Quiet week

After last weekend’s tornado outbreak that spun up a reported 12 EF-0 tornadoes, 8 EF-1 tornadoes, 4 EF-3 tornadoes, and 1 EF-4 tornado in Kansas, this last week of calm and quiet weather has been exactly what many Kansans wanted. I am glad to say that I have some good news for those of you who want this to continue, at least for a while longer. Overall this week the weather looks quiet for Kansas, besides the ups and downs on temperatures for the state. *For KS only: Monday will be nice and a little cool with highs mainly ranging from the 60s-low 80’s, as you go West it will be warmer. Tuesday will be down right hot for this time of year, with highs in the 90’s over much of the Western half of the state, possibly in the mid-upper 90’s in areas. Wednesday will be the day it starts to cool back down, with highs mainly in the 80’s with a few 90’s in Southwest Kansas. On Wednesday down in portions of Western Texas and Eastern New Mexico, we may be seeing some of our first 100’s of the year in the Central US. Thursday will be even nicer for Kansas, with highs in the 60’s and 70’s all over the state. On all of the days this week the weather is expected to remain quiet overall, except we are going to be keeping an eye on Thursday into Saturday for some severe weather chances. We’ll keep you updated on that though while the forecast becomes more clear. Below is our day by day temperature outlook for the Central Plains for Monday-Thursday.

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Have a GREAT week everyone and stay tuned!

~CEO & Lead Forecaster Brooks

With the severe weather Outbreak expected Thursday and on into this weekend, please read this tornado safety information guide.

Tornado Safety

Roger Edwards

Storm Prediction Center

Norman, Oklahoma

There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas…

Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds’ notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. All administrators of schools, shopping centers, nursing homes, hospitals, sports arenas, stadiums, mobile home communities and offices should have a tornado safety plan in place, with easy-to-read signs posted to direct everyone to a safe, closeby shelter area. Schools and office building managers should regularly run well-coordinated drills. If you are planning to build a house, especially east of the Rockies, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior “safe room”.

Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  • Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  • Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground levelnear a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  • Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.


In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattressor sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can offer some protection also.

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debrisin case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.

In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper:Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building — away from glassand on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

In a mobile home:Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety videofrom the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.

At school:Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or runderground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway,leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In the open outdoors:If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

In a shopping mall or large store:Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

In a church or theater:Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.


Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

Spring has Sprung in Hays, Kansas

(CIRRUS WEATHER) Here in Hays, it’s beginning to look a lot like springtime, and it has for quite a while now! With all of these warm temperatures, we are seeing Spring arrive quite a bit sooner than usual, and we have many plants and trees blooming that sometimes don’t do so until April and even May! Even the lilac bushes are on their peak in blooming in some areas of Hays, and they usually aren’t peaking until May 1st (May Day)! With all of these beautiful sights and smells around the city, people are probably really hoping that we don’t get another freeze, which would likely kill it all off. Well, I somewhat answered that question on Facebook last night, saying Hays has about a 50-55% chance that we’d get down to or below freezing. You can see my probability map for this below.

So, with all these great Spring sights around Hays, I went out today and got a few pictures, some of which are breathtaking! You can view a slideshow of the shots I have taken so far (as of Friday) below, and then click on the link to see the full gallery which I will be updating throughout the weekend, below that. Thanks all, and check out the pictures!

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The Drought: Worst yet to come or is there some relief in the near future?

(CIRRUS WEATHER)After over a year of extremely dry and abnormally warm conditions over much of Western, Central, and Southern Kansas, many residents of the area are beginning to wonder when and if this will ever end. Last Summer was one of the worst in a long time. With almost a month or even more straight of daytime highs above 100 degrees, and multiple days or even weeks, and possibly even a month straight without hardly any rain for some areas, it only made it worse. We think we’ve got it bad up here in Kansas, but we’re only on the Northern end of it. Down in Oklahoma and Western Texas, it’s terribly unimaginable how dry it is. So, again, back to that question, will it ever end? After another warm and dry season, Winter, it’s discouraging for what may be to come this Summer. BUT, this Summer may be different from what you think. Already this year, multiple rains have come through the Southern Plains on areas that haven’t received it for quite some time. I’d have to say areas down in say, Medicine Lodge, KS for instance, have gotten more rain in the past few months than they have since the beginning of 2011!  This to me is a good sign, and I believe it may be the turnaround to at least close to what we were before this. Slowly, I believe drought conditions will be shrinking to the South and West, as shown by the CPC, portions of Central Oklahoma and Texas that were in a pretty bad drought, are now out of it. Shown below is the newest Drought Analysis released by the CPC on March 20, 2012.

So, as you can see shown above, drought conditions are indeed, slowly improving. In fact, by Summer, I do believe that pretty much all of Kansas, except for the Southwest part of the state, should be free of drought conditions overall, except for some “slight” drought in some areas. However, some severe or extreme level drought may still be around for far Southwest Kansas. There will be some major improvement for much of Oklahoma and Texas, East of the Panhandle line, with some improvement in the Eastern Panhandles, but sadly, it does look like the drought will persist for areas in the Western panhandles and Western Texas. This may improve in time, but it will take a while, and very slowly. Luckily for us though, once again, it does look like Kansas may be getting some good recovery. Below here is the CPC Drought Outlook through June 30, 2012, which I do agree with. Stay tuned for more updates!

Maps copyright Cirrus Weather, Data Provided by the Climate Prediction Center. As of 3/26/2012.

Cirrus Weather | Expect More

 Expect More | That’s our new theme for Spring 2012, replacing the old one, “Kansas Weather the way You Like it!” And truly, the saying itself is our plan and goal for this severe weather season and beyond: Do better on all we can for your safety and knowledge of what is going on with the weather. This Spring, you can expect better coverage, more accurate forecasts, and more! Another thing we plan on doing this Spring is purchasing a domain for the blog here ( and a few other updates to make the company a little more professional. Also, we are proud to welcome two new affiliates to the Cirrus Weather Affiliate Lineup this Spring, Kansas Twisters, and Storm Central. Linking up with Kansas Twisters provides large benefits for their viewers and ours combined. We teamed up with them to better provide information when severe weather and tornadoes break out in the Kansas area, us with the severe weather coverage, and them with a more on-the-spot view on stuff, since they are out there chasing. Linking up with Storm Central (Chicago, IL) also provides great things for everyone. They cover pretty much the whole U.S., which will allow us more coverage nationwide through them, and then we will be providing a more local view on the weather for them for the Kansas area. So, as you can see, this is going to be a great year with all this new stuff! Below is our promo for this Spring! Cirrus Weather, Expect More from the Kansas Area Weather Center!

If you have any questions, coments, reccomendations, complaints, or anything, just comment below, message us on Facebook, or email us at today, and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Interesting Weather on the way for Friday-Wednesday? This is a Cirrus Weather Alert!

(CIRRUS WEATHER) Friday into possibly next Wednesday may be a rather scary time period for Kansas and much of the Plains, with the potential for multiple rounds of severe weather. There is still a lot of stuff up in the air on this though, where exactly, how much, and what may happen. Presently though for Kansas, I am seeing 3-4 days that we will need to watch. First is Friday and Friday night. I am basing this off of the NWS. I presently expect that these will be isolated but severe thunderstorms, that probably won’t last too long. The main threat should be large hail, and a few tornadoes can’t be ruled out. Next is Sunday into Monday, or Monday into Tuesday depending on how things pan out. Whatever period of the two it is, I do expect there to be a major severe weather outbreak. Currently, worst-hit areas look to be portions of TX, OK, KS, and NE (shown in map further down in the post). The main threats on with these storms will be large hail, damaging winds, and the potential for large, strong tornadoes. Also, locally heavy rain can also be expected. What looks to be the final round of weather will be part of the same system, Tuesday into Wednesday, but more of a heavy rain event, at least that is what it looks like at this time. The areas hit with this you can see in the map below. The main threats with this will probably be VERY heavy rain, flash flooding, some severe thunderstorms, large hail, and a tornado can’t be ruled out. BELOW IS THE MAP FOR ALL THREE EVENTS.

This is very subject to change, and we will try to do one more post on this. We’d do more, but there is something else I want to bring up with you. While this is looking to be the first “BIG” weather event for Kansas, I will only be able to do VERY limited to no posting from Friday night through Tuesday. IF I get to do any posting during the period, it will be few and far between, unless I get to do it late at night. We will provide you with links to some other websites to keep you covered though.