Tuesday, May 25, 2010

55th Anniversary of the Udall Tornado


"The Town that Died in its Sleep" was the headline used to describe Udall after an F5 tornado struck in darkness without warning. Eighty-two people (out of 505) were killed and 260 were injured. Twenty died in Blackwell, OK earlier in the evening from a tornado spawned by the same supercell thunderstorm that caused the Udall storm. There was no warning of any kind.

Two years later, a tornado warning system inauspiciously began as a tornado approached south Kansas City on May 20, 1977.  The tornado death rate started dropping and it continues to drop today.

Blackwell-Udall would be the last time more than 100 people were killed in a single tornadic supercell.
Photos courtesy of the Udall Tornado Museum

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