|Public Information Statement|
Statement as of 6:00 am CDT on May 25, 2013
... On this date in weather history...
In 1955... two violent F5 tornadoes struck north central
Oklahoma and extreme south central Kansas. The first
tornado... possessing a track 25 miles long and around one
half mile wide... tore through downtown Blackwell Oklahoma
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
intense. 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... another 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. Its average speed of 65 mph
was the fastest on record until the tri-state tornado of
March 18... 1925.