Despite new radar, SE Kansas remains in blind spot

Baxter Springs tornado damage (Courtesy Kansas Highway Patrol)
Baxter Springs tornado damage (Courtesy Kansas Highway Patrol)

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) – An E-F2 tornado that left mounds of debris, twisted metal and hanging power lines along a two-block-wide path through Baxter Springs, Kansas, last month wasn’t big enough to be detected by a new radar at the National Weather Service office in Springfield.

Moments before the April 27 tornado damaged more than 100 homes and businesses in Baxter Springs, the weather service in Tulsa, Oklahoma, detected a tornado in Quapaw, six miles to the south.

The Joplin Globe reports new dual-polarization radar installed in Springfield and Tulsa has greatly enhanced forecasters’ ability to detect tornados. But even with the technology there’s a blind spot in southeast Kansas because of the curvature of the earth.

That makes trained weather spotters even more critical in providing early warning when severe storms approach.

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