May 18, 2024

Natural Disasters in Wichita

For a city that’s right in the middle of “tornado alley”, Wichita doesn’t get that much extreme weather. Of course we experience the usual crazy Midwest weather like a week that has rain, sunshine, snow, and wind each on separate days, but its not often that we see a really bad thunderstorm or a tornado (knock on wood). This is partially due to global warming although we can’t be 100% sure why the weather has calmed down due to how unpredictable tornados are.

With climate change affecting the ocean and the wind, there have been drastic changes in the weather. In 2021, snow came later than ever while continuing on into April of 2022. Usually we would see snow earlier in the winter season and it would be over mid-March. There was also much more sleet and rain than regular, piled up snow.

In recent years, the number of tornadoes has dropped, especially in 2020. Although this can seem like a good thing because less natural disasters means less damage and death, just because it’s good for people doesn’t mean it’s good for the planet. There could be underlying issues with the planet and the climate causing this that have not been discovered or studied enough.

While Kansas is known for tornadoes (thank you Dorothy), earthquakes have now been increasing in frequency. Fracking done down in Oklahoma means aftershocks for southern Kansas. Since that is not the natural disaster we have been preparing for, many people do not know how to react in case of a sudden earthquake. Schools have added earthquake drills to the already long list of drills including tornado, fire, shooter/intruder, and evacuation drills. Most houses are built to withstand tornadoes, an attack from outside, not earthquakes, which affect the foundation. Luckily, most of the earth shaking that happens around here are just aftershocks from larger-scale earthquakes that mainly happen in Oklahoma.