Editorial Roundup: Kansas

Topeka Capital-Journal. May 11, 2024.

Editorial: Recent weeks have shown the power of nature and the resilience of the Kansas spirit

Tornados can touch down anywhere.

They happen so frequently in Kansas they’ve become part of the lore. We’ve seen them in such art as “Tragic Prelude” in the Kansas Statehouse and the more synonymous film “The Wizard of Oz.”

They’ve shown us that even in the worst of circumstances Kansans will look out for their neighbors.

The past few weeks have shown us the power of nature on display.

On the last day in April, an EF-3 tornado killed one person, caused minor injuries to three others, destroyed 22 homes and left 13 homes damaged but livable in Westmoreland.

Barry Toburen, whose Pottawatomie County house was destroyed, said he had stood outside watching as the twister approached.

“The wife said, ’Get your butt in the house!” he told The Capital-Journal.

Later, after crawling out from the wreckage, Barry Toburen said he realized that a large limb stopped just short of his head during the storm.

We want to extend our condolences to the Westmoreland community. We know you’ll build back stronger, and we’ll be rooting for you to do so.

Last Monday, a high-impact weather event brought severe weather, and even more tornadoes to Kansas. Shawnee County emergency management director Dusty Nichols urged residents to be smart regarding severe weather writing on his department’s Facebook page: “We cannot stress enough today, HAVE A PLAN. PLEASE!”

We agree a plan is necessary no matter your circumstances. These types of storms don’t discriminate.

So when the tornado sirens sound next — and they will — do you have a plan? Can you execute your plan quickly if need be? Does everyone in your household know the plan, especially children?

Do you have a shelter to hunker down in? Do you have supplies? Have you reviewed your insurance policies recently — are they up to snuff to cover storm damage? Do you have an out-of-town contact to call after the fact to let others know you’re OK?

Do you have access to reliable sources of information when a storm strikes? Do you have a plan for if you’re in the car? (Remember never seek shelter in a highway overpass or bridge. The winds can pull you out from underneath it.)

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, we’re confident you’re a seasoned Kansan ready for the next set of storms. If not, start working to prepare, because that next storm is inevitable.

Stay safe, Kansas.