Anniversary of the Ruskin Heights Tornado

Fifty-four years ago at this time, television and radio stations in Kansas City were starting to broadcast urgent U.S. Weather Bureau messages pertaining to a tornado headed toward the south part of the city.

That tornado would later kill 44 but the death toll was reduced by the warning messages.

The next day, my mother drove my brothers and me down the circled street where I viewed the incredible wreckage and said to myself, “anything that could do all this had to be pretty interesting.” From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist.

Photo from “Life” Magazine

On this date, I always take a moment to remember the victims and to be thankful that the science of meteorology has put such an effective warning system in place that now saves about 1,000 lives each year.

The story of Ruskin Heights is the first chapter of my book, Warnings. If you would like to read that chapter in its entirely, it is here.

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