Tornado Climatology, Frequency, and Home Base

I would say Kansas even though I am not extremely crazy about living here, but it does get a lot of strong/violent tornadoes and is located near a lot of states that get major tornado outbreaks. Kansas has also had the most F5/EF5 tornadoes since 1880 officially and unofficially.

According to SPC it's actually a tie between Kansas, Iowa, and Texas:

Before 1950, tornado counts are like Alabama (6 real ones) and USC (4 real ones) national championship counts, not really much merit to them.

These days it's perception, or the "what have you done for me lately?" factor. When another Plains state gets hot in the next few years, that'll be everyone's choice. It comes down to where you'd prefer to live, period. Anywhere north of I-20 and south of I-80 is about equal IMO, bounded on the west by the Rockies and to the east by the Mississippi.
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I like the wide open Plains...I'll take Salina-Hays area and stay away from the masses in the I-35 corridor down in the Wichita-Enid corridor. Plus my personal chase success is much better in Kansas and Nebraska roughly in between I-70 and I-80 and west of US-81.
Not too crazy about living there?

I thought Kansas was really nice when I went there on vacation - then again, I spent all my time around Lawrence and Topeka... and some folks there told me that the area really isn't "Kansas" & I would need to go a bit west to see true conservative Kansans.

Is there something about the area I'm looking at that should concern me??

Theres nothing that should concern you, its just when you get west of a Manhattan to Emporia to Coffeyville line the terrain gets flat, for the most part treeless, and nothing much in the way of big towns like there is in Northeast Kansas. Central and western Kansas is pretty much flat and full of nothingness! Mainly just small farming towns and lots of ranches, its quite a bit different than where you've been in Kansas. Wichita is a nice city and would be the place to go if you wanted to move to Kansas and be in a bigger city with a good position to base your chases out of.
I was looking at Wichita originally, but after some peeking at the areas I could afford to live in - was informed pretty much ... umm... well, for lack of a better term, that those areas were pretty much high-crime ghettos/hood.

I'm done with being in areas where you never know if your car is still outside in the morning, or if you'll get shot walking to the store at night, or beatdown by some tweaked crack-head.

...and I HATE heavy rush-hour traffic.

Somewhere nice, calm, mid-sized, and with impressive weather.

That's all I'm asking for.

Some shpadoinkle storms...
IMHO, the openness and desolation of Kansas is part of the beauty of the place. Same goes for Oklahoma and Texas. Another thing I really like is the people. You can walk into almost any store, restaurant, motel, or public place and people will stand and talk as long as you are willing to listen.

If I were to move to Kansas, and I've thought about it, I'd probably locate somewhere in a rural area around Lawrence. It's close enough to KC if you need to go to the big city, and Lawrence has quite a bit itself. I stayed in Lawrence once and walked up Massachusetts Street to the clubs, shops, and restaurants where all of the KU students hang out. People were talking to me and in a bar I went into I had people hanging out with me and buying beers. As a Southerner, I found out that Southern hospitality is not something that is exclusive to the South. In fact, in my opinion it might be easier found in the Great Plains because the South has grown so much, at least the areas I frequent.

But Lawrence puts you close to I-35 and I-70. You can get almost anywhere from there ;).
I was looking at Wichita originally, but after some peeking at the areas I could afford to live in - was informed pretty much ... umm... well, for lack of a better term, that those areas were pretty much high-crime ghettos/hood.

...and I HATE heavy rush-hour traffic.

If you consider some of the 'burbs ... Haysville, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Valley Center, El Dorado ... you may be surprised at what you can find that's affordable, and all are low-crime areas with a small-town feel but minutes from the city.

Ask anyone who has real traffic -- Wichita AIN'T GOT TRAFFIC! "Rush Hour" is like, 20 minutes in the morning and about 45 in the afternoon. Ohterwise, you can get just about anywhere in town in 25 minutes or less. "Rush hour" will delay you another 5-8 minutes at the worst.
I LOVED Lawrence! Hanging out down on Mass was awesome. Great coffee at La tirra plaza, catfish at Jefferson's, the Red Lion, and everyone was friendly and the atmosphere was great.

But... the price of homes in Lawrence is a wee bit much.

Which is why Ottawa, Emporia and the like are attractive to me: very affordable homes, right on major routes to and from anywhere - and right near smack in the middle of the eastern edge of some of the best tornadic climate that one could ask for...

And hanging out on Mass again is just an hour away.

Now if I can just survive this divorce & if the economy doesn't tank so much that I end up unemployed and homeless.... March of 2010 will remain my target date.

Thanks all. If there are any other bits of weather or relocation tidbits you could share, that would be great. Trying to find any of my friends to relocate with me... not working. lol. Something about not interested in weather & don't want to be in the midwest or something? Oh well. heh heh.
You also have to consider whether you can obtain gainful employment if you're moving simply for the sake of easier access to chasing! Coming from Washington, ANYWHERE from Denver to Wichita, to Oklahoma City, to Dallas would be "better".

I kind of like my base in CO Spgs. If I'm on the road by 6 am, I can get to OKC, Amarillo, Salina, and Grand Island by about 4 pm.

Plus, I have a good job that allows me basically the entire spring to be free. And, the Rockys are just 100 miles to my west, so when the chasing season winds down, I can focus on fly fishing.
Yeah, getting a job I can survive on is pretty important (which is why finding a dirt-cheap small home for sale is proportionately vital).

Also, being as close as I can to the epicenter of the strongest and most consistent activity is also important. Not much $$ = not much ability for making a LOT of long distance treks.

...and some peace & quiet from the hustle & bustle of city life sounds fantastic too.

You all have been really helpful and informative - particularly in validating my researching & selection of where I believed would be best - as you all pointed to the same areas I came to decide on.

Who knows, perhaps in a year or so could be kicking back a cold one with y'all.


Free Land

FYI (Reported by KAKE on their website tongith)
The housing market in and around Wichita may be holding its own in a turbulent economy, but it hasn't stopped developers from offering some incredible incentives to would-be home buyers.
Dan Madrigal, a Prudential Realtor, sells homes in Haysville's new Timber Creek Estates. He's getting help from developer Ron Meyer, who is giving away seven plots of land to anybody who will build a new home in his subdivision.
<script language="Javascript" type="text/javascript">if (self['plpm'] && plpm['Mid-Story Ad']) document.write('<table style=\"float : right;\" border=\"0\"><tbody><tr><td align=\"center\" valign=\"bottom\">');if (self['plpm'] && plpm['Mid-Story Ad']){ document.write(plpm['Mid-Story Ad']);} else { if(self['plurp'] && plurp['97']){} else {document.write('<scr'+'ipt language="Javascript" type="text/javascript" src="'+Math.random()+'&p=97&c=6500&m=22&d=22201&pre=%3Ctable+style%3D%22float+%3A+right%3B%22+border%3D%220%22%3E%3Ctbody%3E%3Ctr%3E%3Ctd+align%3D%22center%22+valign%3D%22bottom%22%3E&post=%3C%2Ftd%3E%3C%2Ftr%3E%3C%2Ftbody%3E%3C%2Ftable%3E"></scr'+'ipt>'); } }if (self['plpm'] && plpm['Mid-Story Ad']) document.write('</td></tr></tbody></table>');</script> <script language="Javascript" src="" type="text/javascript"></script> "It's a great time to buy," Madrigal says.
Madrigal walks through a home valued at almost $300,000, pointing out the lake views from almost every window.
"Almost every lot out here is a wooded, creek, or lake lot," he says.
Seven wood lots near the subdivision's main entrance are free, and would otherwise sell for around $17,000, Madrigal says. All a buyer has to do is build a home, says Meyer.
Reached by phone Sunday, Meyer said he's thought of giving land away before, and decided now was a good time to start. Meyer wants perspective buyers made hesitant by the national economy to have confidence in purchasing or building a home.
Although Madrigal was shocked when Meyer first pitched the idea, he believes the incentives will work.
"We're trying to think outside the box," Madrigal said. "We want to be creative and... grab the buyers' attention with what we can do."
Park City is also offering incentives, specifically for first-time home buyers. Mayor Dee Stuart unveiled plans Friday to give first-time home buyers an extra $3,500 if they move to the city.
President Obama's federal stimulus package gives first-time home buyers $8,000 in tax credits. With Park City's new plan, that would grow to $11,500.
"People are always going to be looking for homes," Stuart said Friday. "We want them to look here."
Realtors also point to financing and interest rates, saying they are the best they've been in years. Even Wichita's elite Wilson Estates has several homes for sale at a low 4.5% fixed rate over 30 years.
Madrigal says a good realtor can help interested home buyers find ways of saving thousands of dollars either directly, or through low financing and interest rates.
For more information on Timber Creek Estates, contact information for Ron Meyer, and a link to the National Association of Home Builders, check the 'Related Links' section under this article.
If u do end up moving to the midwest be sure and check out for things such as where to live, employment, things you might need but dont want to pay retail price!!! I just found a nice 3br 1200sq ft with fireplace singlewide(nice storm shelter 10 yrds away which if were under the gun the family will be at my folks house in Derby while im out doing what I do;)) 4 miles E of Derby, Ks for $500 a month rent to own on craigslist which at this point is all I could ever want for my young family of 4. Regardless of where you end up check out the link and see what you can find.
There's some fairly nice homes from Hutchinson > McPherson > Emporia > Ottawa and surrounding areas, that are around 1200 sq ft, 2-3ba and so on...

That are selling in the 30-50k mark. Not new, not beautiful, but definately decently respectable...

...and with a mortgage payment of under 300 bucks, I can't sneeze at that!

Stupid divorce... Can't leave till it's done... probably will be over by Jan 2010.

But on the bright side, I can finally do what I have wanted to for over 30 years...

Chase where you have a shot.

: )
I would strongly recommend somewhere with a decent-sized college or university. When you have that in the mix, you tend to have a more active quality of life than in a little town that just exists to support the surrounding farms. You've probably never heard of Pittsburg, KS but with Pitt St. U there, there it's a pretty active little town. It's in SE KS about 5 mi. W of the MO state line, and 30 mi. N of the OK line. As I recall the area isn't too awfully hilly or tree-covered.

Other options outside the Witchita or KC metro areas include Hays, Emporia, Manhattan, and Topeka.

But being from Oklahoma, I highly suggest the Mecca of severe weather research, Norman OK. I graduated from OU, and have missed Norman terribly. It is just a fun place to live, with affordable housing, lots to do, and a BIG metro area 30 min north on I-35. The OKC metro is really underestimated in quality of life, IMO.
Lawton, Oklahoma
high frequency of severe, good grid of major corridors (west, north, south). Close enough to whats going on in Norman to develop friendships or otherwise feel connected. Far enough away from OUN/OKC to avoid horrible traffic and severe chaser convergence. Incredible regional spotter network. City large enough to support wealth of food/store chains.

Looking at the frequency of touchdowns over the last half a century, I'd almost say that somewhere near smack-in-between Wichita and Lawrence (on a straight line) would be near ideal for Kansas. Heck, near ideal for even being central to anywhere. Anyone know anything about the area there? I know Lawrence, but not the Emporia area. Tx