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Kansas reported more tornadoes so far in 2024 than all last year — or the year before. Why?

A tornado forms and touches down north of Soloman, Kan., Saturday, April 14, 2012.
Orlin Wagner
A tornado forms and touches down north of Soloman, Kan., Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Five months in, this year is already the most active for tornadoes in Kansas since 2019. Two EF-1 tornadoes touched down in Johnson County last week.

2024 is shaping up to be a big year for tornadoes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center has recorded 66 preliminary tornado reports so far this year in Kansas, compared to 39 for all of 2023.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service confirmed two EF-1 tornadoes in Johnson County.

The uptick is due in part to El Nino, a phenomenon of higher temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that impact weather patterns across the United States.

El Nino is currently transitioning to a neutral condition, "a recipe for severe weather in the central United States," Chip Redmond, an assistant meteorologist at Kansas State University, told KCUR's Up To Date.

  • Stephanie Sipprell, Emergency Response Speciailist Meteorologist at the National Weather Service
  • Chip Redmond, Kansas State University Assistant Meteorologist
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