1.2 A Tornado of Hellish Fury

Thursday, 22 June 2017: 8:45 AM
Salon III (InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza)
Bruce Jones, Midland Radio Corporation, Kansas City, MO

On May 17, 1896 an outbreak of tornadoes, some violent, left an unprecedented track of damage across northeast Kansas.  Newspapers of the day described this as a single, long-track tornado; Grazulis described it as a probable family of tornadoes.  The presenter's analysis of contemporary newspaper reports was cross-referenced with plat maps of the region, US Weather Bureau reports, cooperative observer records, and still-recognizeable damage to reveal a complex but classic Tornado Alley outbreak with strong surface features, supercell storms, and damage that was beyond anything experienced in this area before or since.  This unique research was used in a television severe weather special, establishing a new level of understanding of a day of intense, slow-moving storms that initiated the first documented storm chase, via horse and buggy, in Kansas state history.
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