Driving back from Kansas City to Topeka yesterday I had to cross a severe storm front that was rolling through the area. The National Weather Service broke into the radio broadcast I was listening to and announced that I was about ten miles away from—and heading straight towards—the leading edge of the storm.
To be honest, I'd forgotten how serious the weather can get, and how quickly it can change, in Kansas. In those ten miles the temperature dropped by over 20 degrees, instantly fogging up my windows. I cranked the defroster to max as the sky became nearly as black as night and the hail started coming down. Pea-sized, it created such a racket that I couldn't hear the radio above it, and the asphalt highway began to feel like a gravel road beneath my tires as it piled up.
In another ten miles, though, the hail was replaced by rain and I felt confident enough to snap this picture with my cameraphone. (Sorry for the cameraphone quality.) The white stuff at the side of the road is the rapidly-melting remnant of the hail storm.
It turns out that there were around 24 tornadoes reported around Kansas yesterday. And this is after Thanksgiving—well outside the normal season for such weather. California sure has spoiled me.