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For the years I’ve lived in Lawrence, I’ve heard of a topographical feature commonly referred to as “The Tonganoxie Split.” It supposedly protects parts of Lawrence from tornadic or other storm activity. Can you explain more about it?


Matt Elwell, 6News chief meteorologist, gives us this answer: “The Tonganoxie Split” was coined by Dan Henry (retired Kansas City TV meteorologist) years ago. There are several theories about the split, and geography is one of them. There is certainly an influence by topography on weather, but big storms, including tornadoes, have hit both Lawrence and Tonganoxie in the last 15 years, putting that theory to rest. The other theory that we hear is that Tonganoxie is along the intersection of Kansas City’s radar and Topeka’s radar making the actual position of the storm difficult to pinpoint — so it appears to split on radar when it really doesn’t.

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