Discover the Kansas Town Most Likely to Be Hit by a Tornado

© Mark Wolfe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Jennifer Geer

Updated: July 9, 2023

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When people think of Kansas, tornadoes often come to mind, thanks to the old classic, The Wizard of Oz. The movie is set in a black-and-white Kansas world, where Dorothy and her little dog are transported to the colorful Land of Oz by a powerful Kansas tornado. 

But in reality, are tornadoes common in Kansas? The state of Kansas comes in sixth in the nation for tornado activity, and it’s located in “Tornado Alley” (an area in the central part of the country high in tornado activity.) 

Certainly, Kansas gets its share of destructive storms. In fact, there is one town in the state that ranks the highest for potential tornado activity. Read on to discover which Kansas town is most likely to be hit by a tornado and how wildlife in the area may be impacted by the severe weather.

What is the Kansas Town Most Likely to Be Hit by a Tornado?

Tornado

The Tornado Index measures the possible risk of tornadoes across different areas.

©Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

Lansing is the Kansas town most likely to be hit by a tornado. Lansing has a tornado index score of 415.33, the highest in the state. 

The Tornado Index measures the possible risk of tornadoes across different areas. The higher the score, the higher the risk. The index can’t predict when and if a tornado will hit a given area. It only measures the likelihood based on historical events in the region.

Comparing Lansing’s Tornado Index with Other Cities

Lansing’s score of 415.33 is higher than the state average of 252.53. It’s also higher than the state average for Oklahoma, which has the greatest risk for tornadoes in the country. However, it’s lower than the city of Valley Brook, Oklahoma, which is at 696.05!

What is Tornado Alley?

Tornado Alley is a stretch of states in the middle of the country that has the highest number of tornadoes that tend to spawn in the spring and summer. However, the exact borders of Tornado Alley are sometimes debated. However, experts usually agree it includes Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Northern Texas.

About Lansing, Kansas

Lansing is a small town in Lansing with a population of 11,535. It’s part of the Kansas City metropolitan area and is on the west side of the Missouri River and the Kansas-Missouri state border.

With its nearness to the city, Lansing has a suburban feel, with many young professionals living there and owning their own homes.

What’s the History of Lansing?

Although people have lived in Lansing since the 1800s, the city wasn’t incorporated until 1959. Lansing is named for James Lansing, a pioneer settler who opened a general mercantile store that held an apothecary business and a post office. 

The Kansas State Penitentiary, renamed the Lansing Correctional Facility in 1990 remains the largest and oldest detention facility in the state.

What’s the Deadliest Tornado Ever to Strike Kansas

On May 25, 1955, the Udall Tornado, an F5 on the original Fujita Scale, devastated the small town with a swath of destruction 20 miles long.

©Mennonite Church USA Archives, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

About three hours south of Lansing, near the city of Wichita, sits the small town of Udall, Kansas. On May 25, 1955, the Udall Tornado, an F5 on the original Fujita Scale, devastated the small town with a swath of destruction 20 miles long and 400 yards wide. Sadly, the Udall Tornado caused 80 deaths and 270 injuries making it the deadliest storm in Kansas history.

What’s the Weather Like in Lansing?

Lansing summers run hot and humid, making it a perfect atmosphere for creating strong thunderstorms that can spawn tornadoes. Tornado season in Kansas runs from April to June, although they can form at any time. Tornadoes form when the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets Canada’s cool, dry air. The combination creates instability in the atmosphere, and powerful tornadoes can form. 

Wildlife Around Lansing

A Beautiful Western Meadowlark Perched on a Fence Post on the Plains of Colorado

Birds like the western meadowlark are plentiful in Kansas.

©Kerry Hargrove/Shutterstock.com

Although the majority of Kansas is flatland, the state is home to the Flint Hills. The northeast part of the state where Lansing is located is full of gently rolling hills, forests, farmlands, ponds, streams, and lakes.

Kansas has a variety of wildlife, including diverse birds, predators, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Birds

Birds are plentiful in Kansas. Some of the common species include:

Mammals

Predators in the state include bobcats, foxes, and coyotes. These predators have a wide array of small mammals to hunt, including cottontail rabbits, prairie dogsmiceskunksopossumsmuskratsbeavers, and raccoons.

Although American bison used to roam freely across the Kansas plains, today, you will only find herds living in state parks or on private lands.

Reptiles

With its many waterways, Kansas is home to water-dwelling reptiles such as snapping turtles, northern water snakes, and the poisonous water moccasin. Other reptiles found in the state include red-bellied snakes, Texas horned lizards, and garter snakes. 

Amphibians

Kansas is home to many different species of frogs, toads, and salamanders. Kansas even has a state amphibian, the barred tiger salamander.

How Do Tornadoes Impact Kansas Wildlife?

The immediate effects of a tornado can injure animals that get caught in the path, and destroy their homes by uprooting trees, leveling forests, and demolishing habitats. 

But, the aftermath of a tornado may be even more dangerous for native animals and plants. The storms can destroy pipelines and break chemical containers. Toxic substances, such as paint, cleaners, and asbestos can get picked up by the rotation and contaminate the water, soil, and air. Further, contamination from these man-made compounds can poison wild animals and create a devastating impact on ecosystems.

Where is Lansing, Kansas Located on a Map?

Lansing is a city located in Leavenworth County, Kansas, within close proximity to the Missouri River and along the western side of the Kansas-Missouri state border.

Here is Lansing, Kansas on a map:


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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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