Friday, April 26, 2013

What I Was Doing 22 Years Ago at This Time

A number of people have posted on Facebook and elsewhere what they were doing as the Wichita-Andover tornado of April 26, 1991, was moving across the region. Well, this is what I was doing:

Since there are many photos of the tornado itself online, here are a couple of photos of the damage it caused:

That tornado killed 17 and the tornado to the south in the series (four tornadic supercells aligned north-south) killed two. Other fatalities occurred in Oklahoma with tornadoes from the southernmost supercell.

This tornado was before the days of Doppler radar but we still did an outstanding job of effectively warning. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that 75 people would have died (rather than 17) had the warnings not been as good.

Now, an interesting fact: The CDC concluded that at least 15 of the 17 people knew the tornado was coming in time to save their lives but failed to act in time. Since 1991, warnings have become even more accurate. It looks like tornado season be more active in May: Please take tornado warnings seriously and act accordingly when you are included in one.


  1. I call this my Birthday Tornado since the birthday party I was having at the time consisted of people watching you on TV covering the tornado. I graduated high school the next year and I was wondering now long you worked at KSN? When I came home from college Dave Freeman was there.

  2. I worked at KSN until July, 1993.

  3. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that 75 people would have died (rather than 17) had the warnings not been as good."

    Have they done similar analyses for other tornado events?

    Also, has the CDC or other researchers yet attempted to do the same analysis in reverse for the 4/27/11 outbreak and Joplin -- that is, to determine how many FEWER people would have died had the warnings been better or had everyone been able to receive them in a timely fashion?


  4. Hi Elaine, wish they had done the work in JLN. To my knowledge, they have not. The CDC's work on Wichita-Andover was first time they had done a study of that nature.

    JLN: NIST is working on a major report that they are keeping tightly under wraps that I suspect they will release on the 2nd anniversary or near that date. I know they are looking at maximum wind speeds and other items. Not sure why they are treating it as "top secret." Look forward to seeing the report.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.