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Does the ‘Tonganoxie Split’ protect Kansas City from tornadoes? We asked the experts

As massive hail and damaging winds swept by the Kansas City space Tuesday evening, a Reddit user posted, “Looks like we get to test the Tonganoxie Split.”

In Kansas City climate lore, the small Leavenworth County city of Tonganoxie has an outsized function. Located about 35 miles west of Kansas City, with a inhabitants of 5,573, Tonganoxie provides its identify to the legend of the “Tonganoxie Split,” which is talked about in social media remark sections each time there’s extreme climate.

As most city legends go, the definition of the “Tonganoxie Split” is as cloudy as a wet day.

The “Tonganoxie Split” is loosely described as a phenomenon the place storms and tornadoes coming throughout Kansas break up north and south or dissipate as they attain Tonganoxie, sparing the Kansas City space from the storm’s worst results.

Is the ‘Tonganoxie Split’ an actual factor?

According to National Weather Service meteorologists Hallie Boza and Brent Pesel, it’s not.

“It’s not been seen scientifically to have any real impact, and there are storms that go over there all the time,” Boza mentioned.

While some individuals consider that cities are much less more likely to be hit by tornadoes, Pesel mentioned it’s because cities simply take up much less land than rural areas.

As to the concept that heat-island cities repel tornadoes, Pesel mentioned, “I do not know of any published research that correlates” hotter cities with tornadoes.

And tall buildings don’t protect city areas. A National Weather Service data sheet mentioned, “Tornadoes are typically 5 to 10 miles tall. A tall building with a height of 500 to 1000 feet can not deflect or destroy a tornado.”

History of the ‘Tonganoxie Split’

Kansas City residents have used the time period “Tonganoxie Split” for many years.

A 1984 Kansas City Times article mentioned that, “Television weatherman Dan Henry is fond of announcing the ‘Tonganoxie split’ during drought seasons when the rain hits Topeka and Kansas City but misses areas in between.”

At a 1994 climate Q&A occasion, a gaggle of meteorologists addressed the so-called “weather myth” that tornadoes keep away from Tonganoxie. A radio meteorologist remarked, “Until you get these questions out … you don’t get rid of the myths,” as detailed in a Kansas City Star article.

Urban twister myths

Kansas City has neighbors with these superstitions too.

In Nebraska, residents inform tales of the legendary Omadome, which they are saying protects Omaha from extreme climate. Unfortunately, this idea was lately confirmed flawed. On April 26, jap Nebraska and western Iowa endured 19 confirmed tornadoes, with one demise and lots of of houses destroyed.

Do you’ve got extra questions on climate in the Kansas City space? Ask the Service Journalism crew at [email protected].

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