Today marks the fifty third anniversary of one of the most
destructive and deadly Tornadoes in Kansas history.
The enormous Tornado that struck Topeka, Kansas on the 8th June 1966 killed seventeen people, injured over five hundred people and caused over two hundred million dollars in damage1.
1: At the time, highest in
American history. With modern-day inflation taken into consideration, the
Tornado still ranks as one of the costliest on record. Estimated at around one
point eight billion dollars.
WITH THAT BEING SAID, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ACTUAL TORNADO
The Tornado formed at around
7:00pm west of Auburn in southwest Shawnee County, cut a twenty two mile long
path, at times half a mile wide, across the heart of the city.
Total destruction happened
along an eight block section in the center of Topeka. Every building on the
campus of Washburn University was either destroyed or heavily damaged – ten million
dollars in damage, ALONE.
Across the city, almost eight
hundred homes were completely destroyed with nearly three thousand damaged. The
Capitol Dome sustained damage from the flying debris, as did other buildings in
The devastation caused by this Tornado led to it being classified as an F5/EF-5 – with winds estimated at over two hundred and fifty miles per hour.
The Tornado held a
northeastern pace at approxmintanly thirty five miles per hour, however
weakened after leaving the downtown area,
It finally dissipated just
east of Billard Airport on the city’s northeast side having been on the ground
for about half an hour.
Power and utilities in many
parts of the city were out for weeks, and hundreds were left homeless.
As it entered the southwest
part of the city, the enormous Tornado roared across Burnetts Mound…
…Ending a longstanding Indian that the Mound would deflect any Tornadoes and spare the city.
Find more of our articles on Tornadoes that have struck the state of Kansas here.
An outbreak of Tornadoes, some potentially long-track and violent, is expected today into this evening over portions of northwest Texas into western and central Oklahoma.
More-isolated but still potentially dangerous severe weather, including Tornadoes and destructive winds and hail is possible in surrounding parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.
Today has the potential to be a historic day. We will be covering this high risk event all day/night – here in the UK. To our readers in the affected areas, BE WEATHER READY!
An outbreak of strong Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms is expected today across parts of the southern and central Plains.
many of the storms will have very large hail and wind damage. The severe threat
will be concentrated from west Texas and the Texas Panhandle eastward across
Oklahoma, Kansas into western Missouri and western Arkansas.
severe storms with wind damage and hail will be possible this afternoon from
southeast New York into southern and central New England.
Yesterday and today marks the fifty
first anniversary of the outbreak.
The May 15th
-16th 1968 Tornado outbreak was a significant and deadly
event. The outbreak of Tornadoes affected the states listed below.
This outbreak produced thirty nine Tornadoes from 3:28pm on the 15th May till 2:50am on the 16th May. This included two F5/EF-5 Tornadoes in Iowa1.
1: The first
F5/EF-5 Tornado swept through five counties and sixty five miles. It affected
Charles City just before 5:00pm. This particular Tornado destroyed much of the
area. Damage figures were estimated up to thirty million dollars in Charles
City alone whilst one point five million dollars in damage was recorded
elsewhere. This F5/EF-5 killed thirteen people and injured almost four hundred
and sixty people.
featured photo of this article is that of the F5/EF-5 that struck Charles City –
however the photo was captured two miles southwest of the city by Floyd County
The second F5/EF-5
Tornado affected Fayette County at around 4:57pm. It destroyed or damaged
nearly a thousand homes. The hardest hit areas were Oelwein and Maynard where
homes were completely swept away from their foundations. Five people were
killed by this F5/EF-5 whilst one hundred and sixty were injured.
These were two
of four F5/EF-5 Tornadoes that struck the United States during the year of 1968
– the other two; southwestern Ohio on the 23rd April and Minnesota
on the 13th June. The next and last official F5/EF-5 Tornado that
touched down in Iowa was in Jordan on the 13th June 1976.
The thirty nine
Tornadoes spawned during this outbreak killed seventy two people and caused twelve
hundred injuries. You can find more details on the outbreak here.