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Central US Radar Click Maps  Kansas Radars  May 29-30, 1879 Tornadoes 

Irving, Kansas Tornadoes

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Irving, Kansas Tornado

          J. P. Finley's account of the May 30, 1879 tornado.


Storm Chasing

Thunderstorms use to terrify me in my younger days.  I was ready to move to Alaska to avoid them.  Spring was not looked forward to.  Now I have bouts of SDS (Supercell Deprivation Syndrome), what a  change.  I don't know about anyone else but things that frightened me as a child are things I want to learn about the most.  Curiosity about tornadoes was sparked by the June 8, 1966 tornado that struck Topeka, Kansas.  A smaller tornado also raked the northern portion of Manhattan, Kansas on that date.  Manhattan is only 15 miles WSW of Wamego, Kansas, my home town.  At first storm chasing for me was more or less storm spotting on the move keeping within a few miles of Wamego.  Then in the early 80's the urge to see storms was not being satisfied by the few that passed by my home town.  Soon I was traveling tens of miles to watch storms now I'm traveling hundreds.  Finding out in the late 80's through Storm Track Magazine that I wasn't alone on the plains chasing storms made me more comfortable about what I was doing.  After all chasing severe storms does seem a little weird doesn't it?  The first tornado is etched into my mind like Washington is carved into Mount Rushmore.  It was April 26, 1991 when I seen my first tornado.  Looking east from the junction of I70 and K99 a F? tornado crossed I70 twelve miles away.  A couple of hours later Andover was wiped out by a monster F5 tornado.  Although Andover is over one hundred miles away from Wamego I was still able to hear a report from a highway patrolman via the turnpike repeater system who was in the vicinity of Andover.  The patrolman indicated that the destruction was so complete that there weren't enough landmarks left to tell were he was at.  To be continued...

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Last revised: May 21, 2006