Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rainfall amounts - How we can do better

Some big rainfall yesterday evening in parts of Kansas. A Flash Flood Emergency was issued for areas along I-70 near Grinnell because of slow moving storms producing VERY heavy rains. Just look at the radar estimates. There were reports of logs floating down streets in high water, storm drains that couldn't keep up, and even one water rescue happened late into the night.

Rainfall amounts from the past 24 hours ending at 7 a.m.
Grinnell - 4.11"
Goodland - 1.92"
Wichita (Eisenhower) - 1.46"
Jabara Airport - 1.33"
Hays - 1.27"
Great Bend - 1.15"
Hutch - 0.77"
Winfield - 0.75"
Dodge City - 0.72'
Russell - 0.63"
Salina - 0.57"
Newton - 0.49"
Smith Center - 0.39"
Medicine Lodge - 0.34"
Liberal - 0.26"
Pratt - 0.16"
Garden City - 0.06"

When it comes to warning you, we are always looking for ways that we can do better. It's a total team effort with the help of the National Weather Service, broadcast meteorologists, Emergency Managers, storm chasers and spotters, and law enforcement. Wednesday afternoon, a tornado warning was issued for Sherman county (including Goodland) for a little funnel hanging from the cloud. You can see in the picture (courtesy of the Sherman county sheriff's office), it's incredibly small and it was not in contact with the ground. There were several eyes under the storm, watching its every development. So what do you think? Should a tornado warning be issued? The problem is we sound MANY bells and whistles when a tornado warning is issued. Lots of different reactions happen for many different people. Schools will start putting kids in shelter, hospitals go into storm mode, sirens go off, and some people panic. When the threat is so isolated like that, would you rather us wait or go full on with tornado mode (even when the setup isn't very favorable for it to get stronger)? It's something we continue to talk about and try to understand better what makes most sense. Will we ever have it totally figured out? Maybe not, but just so you know, we are always working to make our efforts better in how we warn you of approaching storm danger.

Next week will have several more chances for storms and some severe weather too. We will take a closer look at what days have the best chances tomorrow.

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