April to be warmer than usual with possible tornadoes, K-State climatologist says

K-State students celebrate the dawn of warmer weather by taking to the Quad to do homework and lounge between class. (Archive Photo by Evert Nelson | Collegian Media Group)

Not many students know about her, but there’s a woman on campus who can tell the future — the future of the weather, that is.

Mary Knapp is the assistant state climatologist for Kansas and an associate agronomist at Kansas State University. Knapp has been a climatologist for the last thirty years, and she said she has some weather predictions for the spring.

After the long winter, Knapp said Manhattan is ready for the heat. Based on the three-month outlook from the climate prediction center, Knapp said temperatures this March have been cooler than normal, but they are expected to be slightly warmer than average this April.

March, April and May aren’t just home to warm weather, however. These months are also the prime time for tornados — some of the most severe weather in our region.

Knapp’s advice to help the Manhattan community stay safe is to sign up for an alert system through their phones or email. With K-State Alerts, students and faculty can get warnings about various dangers, including severe weather. Knapp also recommended reviewing a severe weather safety plan.

Mohammad Almuslem, senior in electrical engineering, said when he first came to Kansas from Saudi Arabia, he didn’t know what a tornado was, let alone where to go when the sirens began wailing one day.

“The first time I heard the siren, I didn’t know what it was,” Almuslem said. “I wasn’t sure where to go. I didn’t know where to take shelter.”

Knapp advised that community members should know how to access the safest place in their residence to go during storms. This is typically the lowest level of the building and away from glass.

“One of the biggest problems is people want to go out and visually confirm that there is a tornado,” Knapp said. “You don’t want to do that.”

Knapp said Kansas is likely to have a higher chance of tornados this spring than last year due to an increase in moisture.

There are also two other potentially deadly forms of severe weather on the radar for this spring: lightning and flash flooding. Knapp said to always remember to find shelter if thunder is in the area and to not drive through flooded roadways.