National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

This Day In Weather History

In 1957, an F4 tornado cut a track of near total devastation from Williamsburg, Kansas through the Southeast suburbs of Kansas City. The track was 71 miles long and nearly one half mile wide. There 44 deaths and 531 injuries. Of these totals, 7 deaths and 31 injuries occurred in Kansas where many homes were leveled. In Missouri, 37 were killed and 500 more were injured. Most injuries and fatalities were in the Southeast Kansas City suburbs of Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills where F5 damage may have occurred to housing developments and to some of the 15 stores at a shopping center. It was the worst weather related disaster to date in Kansas City. The most bizarre incident involved a small house that was destroyed. All that remained was a small table with a fish bowl on top. Reportedly, the fish continued to swim, apparently unconcerned. && In 1916, Codell was struck by an F2 tornado with a track 15 miles long and nearly 450 yards wide. There were no injuries or fatalities but there was around $12,000 damage. This marked the beginning of an eerie tornadic occurrence, for tornadoes would strike Codell on May 20th, 1917 and again on May 20th, 1918. Each successive event would be more intense than its predecessor. In 1917, an F3 twister with a track 25 miles long and three fourths of a mile wide began 2 miles west of Codell. Fortunately, there were no deaths or injuries as the twister struck rural areas. In 1918, the eerie tornadic "hat trick" was completed, but this event would be deadly. The strongest of the 3 tornadoes had a track 65 miles long and around one half mile wide. This violent F4 began 3 miles south of Ellis in Western Ellis County. Moving northeast, the tornado tore through Codell, where many buildings were blown apart. Amazingly there were no deaths or injuries. After leaving Codell, the tornado greatly intensified. Farms were leveled and 2 people were killed. The first fatality was 2 miles northeast of Codell while the second was 6 miles northeast of town. The tornado then invaded Osborne County where around 30 farms were destroyed and one person was killed. In all, the tornado killed 9, injured 65, and caused around $475,000 damage of which $50,000 occurred in Codell.