It is not uncommon for a county to go a year or more without the occurrence of a tornado, so far in 2006, it is the first time since 1950 that all of the 30 counties served by the National Weather Service office in Hastings, Nebraska have not had a confirmed tornado during the first six months of the year.  

A look at tornado statistics for the counties served by the NWS Hastings office reveals only two years, 1966 and 1981 that come close to not having a reported tornado during the January through July 1st period, each year with just one reported occurrence.  Only one year since 1950 finished in second place with the least January through June tornadoes, and that was 1963 with four verified tornado reports.

The 1966 single tornado January through July 1st event occurred May 22nd when a tornado tracked northeast from Henderson to Osceola.  In 1981, a tornado that touched down on April 3rd near the Fairmont State Airport in Fillmore county was the only reported tornado during the first half of the year. 

Four confirmed tornadoes, 1 in Kansas, and 3 in Nebraska , spoiled the chance for a tornado shutout during the first half of 1963.  The lone tornado in Kansas struck Athol in Smith county on June 11th.  In Nebraska, the first tornado touched down southeast of York on April 28th, the second struck the Fairmont State Airport on June 9th leaving 11 aircraft and 3 hangars damaged or destroyed. The third dropped out of the sky north of Ord on June 9th.   

A brief review of climatology shows that on the Nebraska side of the border, tornadoes have occurred in every county in the state...and there has been a tornado occurrence in every month of the year...except the month of February.  There are an average of 41 tornado occurrences in Nebraska each year and the highest incidence, almost 3 to 1, is during the first 6 months of the year...making this years lack of tornadoes an exceptional event.

Similar conditions exist across our counties in north central Kansas, where the state of Kansas has an average 55 tornadoes annually with the peak months also in the January through June period. The only month where a tornado has not occurred is January.  

Written by Larry Wirth, June 30, 2006































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