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Kansas, McPherson

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:00 AM CDT on May 25, 2016

... On this date in weather history...

In 1955, two violent F5 tornadoes struck north central
Oklahoma and extreme south central Kansas. The first
tornado that had a track 25 miles long and around one
half mile wide, tore through Blackwell where 20 were
killed, 280 were injured and $8 million damage resulted.
Around 400 homes were destroyed, many of which were swept
from their foundations. Around 60 businesses were
heavily damaged or destroyed. Prior to hitting
Blackwell, the tornado caused $150,000 damage to Tonkawa.
The lightning associated with the tornado was
incredible. The vortex glowed and possessed arcs of
glowing light.The tragic Udall tornado immediately
followed. Possessing a track 30 miles long and averaging
one half mile wide, the tornado leveled most of Udall,
killed 75, injured 270, and caused $2.25 million damage.
The tornado also killed 5 children 3 miles northeast of
Oxford, bringing the total number of fatalities to 80.
It is still the deadliest tornado in Kansas history. In
1917, an F5 tornado even larger than either the Blackwell
or Udall tornadoes roared across south central Kansas.
It had a track 65 miles long and reached one mile wide.
The tornado killed 23, injured 70, and caused $600,000
damage from northwest Sedgwick to Southeast Marion
counties. The tornado started 4 miles northwest of
Cheney, struck southeast Andale, where half of the town
was damaged or destroyed and 12 were killed, the southern
edge of Sedgwick then proceeded to 3 miles northeast of
Florence. In all, 118 structures were hit of which many
vanished. Its average speed of 65 mph was the fastest on
record until the tri-state tornado of March 18, 1925.


In 2008, a massive EF5 tornado tore across northeast
Iowa. Reaching three fourths of a mile wide along a
43-mile long track, the vicious vortex possessed
rotational velocities that reached 205 mph. Hardest hit
was Parkersburg, where 7 were killed and around $3
million damage resulted. Two others were killed in the
Tiny Town of New Hartford. The tornado killed 9, injured
70, and caused around $6 million damage, which no doubt
would have been much higher had the twister struck a more
populated area. Regardless, it is the 2nd deadliest
tornado in Iowa history, exceeded by a huge F5 that tore
through Charles City on may 15, 1968, where and when 13
were killed.

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