The counties in Southern Nebraska statistically experience the most tornadoes in the state. This is probably an area you’d want to a avoid. But which area gets the most.
Hall County, Nebraska, gets more tornadoes than anywhere else in the state. This southern county has had Seventy-seven tornado events recorded since 1950.
Hall County, Nebraska, is located in a geographic location that has been disproportionately affected by tornadoes. The area referred to as “Tornado Alley” includes Nebraska, Texas, Iowa, and Ohio. We will discuss several unique factors that make communities in this region more susceptible to tornadoes.
Why Does Hall County Nebraska See More Tornadoes?
The climate in Southern Nebraska has perfect conditions for tornado formation. There are 121 tornadoes per 1,000 square miles in Hall County, which is four times the state average. The abrupt change in dew point temperatures most frequently seen in the spring and fall in Tornado Alley, create favorable conditions for these tornadoes to form.
The Gulf of Mexico to the south of the county and the Rocky Mountains to the West provide the hot and cold temperatures needed to fuel this severe weather.
The mixing of the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico with the colder air in the mountains creates what is called a dry line. Tornadoes will form along the east side of the dry-line as the storm moves across the country. Typically, these weather systems travel at about 10 to 20 miles per hour.
As a result of these conditions, there have been six documented tornadoes in Hall County since 2000.
Strongest Tornado in Hall County
Tornadoes range in severity. The scale used to measure the strength of a tornado is called the (EF) Enhanced Fujita Scale. Ranging from 0 to 5, this scale rates a tornado based on the wind speed.
An EF score of zero indicates wind speeds of 65 to 85 miles per hour. The most dangerous tornadoes are rated a 5 on the EF scale. A storm that has earned this rating can have wind gusts over 200 miles per hour.
The strongest tornadoes the state has ever seen occurred in Hall County on June 30th, 1980. Seven different tornadoes touched down one after another in Grand Island. In 2 hours and 45 minutes, five people lost their lives and more than 200 people were injured.
The strongest of these multiple tornadoes was rated an F4. This meteorological event has stayed with the people who call Hall County home.
Stories like this one have shaped the lives of people who live here. The horrific night became known as the ‘Night of the Twisters”.
Is It Safe to Visit Hall County Nebraska?
Radar detection and forecasting technology have made tornadoes less deadly for communities. The ability to predict the weather can provide enough time for people to seek shelter. In addition, tornado warnings now provide awareness and time to get to a safe place. Today’s technology gives us the ability to warn people in time to save lives.
The local alert system in Hall County provides the option of email, text messages, or phone call alerts. The most effective is the Wireless Emergency Alerts. These warnings can be broadcast to every mobile phone in an impacted area. If you are within the distance of a cell phone tower, your phone will alert you to a tornado warning.
When all measures are used in combination with the established Emergency Response System, it is very effective. Since 2011 the national weather service states that the average lead time for warnings was between 8 and 11 minutes.
Safety During a Tornado
Stay alert to any watches or warnings in your area. Have a plan of where to go if you find yourself in need of shelter.
The safest place to be is in a building or house with a basement. Stay away from windows. If that is not possible, go to the lowest floor of the structure that you are in. Cover yourself with padding that could protect you from moving objects.
If you are outdoors, lie flat and as low as you can on the ground. Always protect your head from projectiles. The most dangerous part of a tornado is the high wind speeds. Strong wind gusts create damage and flying debris that can hit you, causing injury.
The part of Nebraska that gets the most tornadoes is Hall County. Climate and geography make tornadoes more likely to occur in the Spring and the Fall. Technology has created the ability to warn the communities who call Hall County home, making it a safer place to live.