Monday, March 13, 2006

Tornadoes Strike

Life in Missouri...

The Sedalia [MO] Democrat by Sarah Daniel, Beth O'Malley and Oliver Wiest
One person was killed, six injured and two reported missing after a string of tornadoes moved through Pettis County Sunday afternoon and evening.

Emergency management storm spotters followed progress of storm systems well into the night Sunday, while hundreds either sought shelter or huddled in dark homes lacking electricity.


I was very sorry, but not terribly surprised to hear on the all-news channels last night that Sedalia, MO had been hit by tornadoes. Dennis and I attended college at Warrensburg, just 30 miles west of Sedalia on Highway 50. As Dennis always says, Sedalia has a bulls-eye drawn on it. That town has been hit repeatedly by severe weather and tornadoes. It must be something about the lay of the land that channels bad weather there.

For example, here's an account of a tornado that hit on May 13, 1980

Sedalia Mayor Allen Hawkins said the twister caused from $40 million to $45 million in damages, mainly affecting factories, warehouses and commercial enterprises that employ a large sector of the city’s work force.

At least 15 structures were damaged or destroyed.

Despite the economic damage, city officials took solace in the absence of a single death resulting from the second major twister to strike here in three years.


I think the last sentence of the above quotation refers to the tornado described in the following quote:

MAY 4 1977...The Sedalia Missouri Tornado.... The tornado touched down around 1:45 PM about 9 miles southwest of Sedalia, and went through Sedalia finally lifting 2 miles northeast of town. Approximately 150 homes were destroyed and 300 more damaged. Several schools were damaged and two elementary schools were closed for the remainder of the school year. The path length was 11 miles and the tornado was as wide as 700 yards at times. The storm was rated an F3-PL3-PW4 on the Fujita-Pearson scale.


I personally remember tornadoes and damaging winds hitting in and around Sedalia several times during the State Fair which is held there every summer. One year, we were there and observed that the sky was looking ominous. We decided to get out of there and very shortly after we left, a violent wind wreaked havoc on many of the tents and booths, as well as the fair-goers. Here's a much more disastrous State Fair weather event that happened well before my memory.

1952 – The golden anniversary of the Missouri State Fair was marked with a tragedy when the fairgrounds was hit by a tornado at 1:20 a.m. on August 20. The storm centered on the midway area and a carnival employee was killed. Despite suffering extensive damage to all 60 permanent buildings on the fairgrounds, totaling almost $700,000, the fair was back in operation the following evening.

Photo and another account of this tornado

And in a storm with straight winds on May 21, 1987:

Severe thunderstorms, developing along a sharp cold front crossing the central U.S., produced 60 mph winds and golf ball size hail at Sedalia, MO ...


Another report from May 7, 2003:

Damage was minimal in most areas compared to Sunday's storms, but there were reports of downed trees and power lines. Several buildings also were damaged, including concrete grain bins and a metal shed in Sedalia, Mo.


It just can't be denied that they get plenty of severe weather in Sedalia, MO.


Anonymous said...

On top of all this, we (Sedalians) were hit with a second set of tornados on March 30th. A friend in Hunter's Ridge suffered damage a second time to his already damaged roof.

Tonight (April 1) there is more sever weather heading our way. Katie Horner of Channel 5 news out of KC said this could be the worst year ever. We haven't even reached our peak season yet.

If you're a praying person, (I hope you are) you might remember us for the next few months. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Suffice it to say, whenever the meteorologist makes a "severe weather" prediction, people in the Sedalia area take it seriously!
On March 30, a small tornado blew through northeast Henry County and southwest Pettis County--mainly rural Green Ridge, MO, and some subdivisions and areas just outside of Sedalia, MO (Hunter's Ridge, mainly). It hit not 200 yards from our driveway, which is about 5 miles west of Green Ridge. All of the metal outbuildings and roofs around our area were demolished, though luckily no one's home was badly damaged. There definitely is something about this area that seems to attract severe weather.
Hopefully, this will end our severe weather for the season.

Genevieve said...

I hope so, too! Though we are always so thankful when no lives were lost, still it can be very traumatic in many ways to suffer property damage. We have certainly seen that here in Christian County since suffering an F-3 tornado this April. (See April archives of this blog.)

Anonymous said...

Wow..I was living in Sedalia when I was 7 and this tornado hit. It was awful. I will never forget it! I lived across from the state Fair grounds. This tornado affected me greatly. I know how awful they are and I am terrified of them. Our house was "twisted" and we had a two car garage on top of it. A blade of grass was driven into the sideboard of our house! I moved to California soon after...but now I'm back and again in Tornado alley..Overland Park KS! Yikes

Anonymous said...

A lifelong resident of Sedalia, I remember both tornadoes vividly.

The May 4, 1977 tornado cut a SW to NE swath through the center of town destroying the Southwest Village subdivision, the Sedalia Country Club, and Mark Twain School just to name a few.

The tornado that Mayor Hawkins referred to and was described by city officials as "the second major twister to strike here in three years" was on May 10, 1980.

This tornado skirted the west edge of Sedalia and destroyed the drive-in, the Sunset Village trailer court and the newly constructed Hays Wheels factory and part of the Gardner-Denver factory.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong on the date. The tornado was May 12, 1980. The article in the newspaper ran May 13, 1980.

Anonymous said...

Correct. Monday May the 12th at 5:10 pm

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