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Messages
573
Location
Missouri
Goodness, those Ruskin Heights photos are some of the most ominous tornado photographs I've ever seen (especially being in black and white). The dramatically sculpted, low-LCL updraft base with classic RFD notch above and stout tornado below (presumably fast-moving and tilted in the direction of motion) is very similar to the appearance of many of the tornadoes and their parent storms on 4/27/11.

It was quite an impressive outbreak: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1957_Central_Plains_tornado_outbreak_sequence
1957 was an extremely impressive year in terms of tornado activity, there was also an outbreak near Christmas of 1957 that involved an F4 tornado that took an extremely similar path to the Tri-State Tornado through southern Illinois, striking Murphysboro once again:

Screenshot_2020-09-05 List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks - Wikipedia.png

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_tornadoes_and_tornado_outbreaks#1950s
 

MNTornadoGuy

Member
Messages
234
Location
Apple Valley, MN
Another outbreak that is somewhat forgotten is the 3/23/1913 Northern Plains tornado outbreak. It is mostly known for the 1913 Omaha tornado but what is not talked about often are the 5 other F4s that struck Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana on that date. What was probably the most intense of these tornadoes was the Berlin tornado which might have even reached F5 intensity. It completely devastated the town of Berlin, many business homes were completely swept away, and two-story brick structures were leveled to the ground and partially swept away. In rural areas, entire farms (including "new and modern" ones) were leveled and swept away while nearby large trees were completely debarked. Berlin0003-16.jpg cyclone2.jpg 5udW3r8bgWjeOZVbj3ZZbVHOFwG3fXsZ5buq9muW0j8fjFPj66rFoUroEJv1dg0vhsgDj9Bl-AYKRvOTgr1G6SXXJ1FnG-...jpg a1c4d13f-fffc-597f-8aa3-73166ab9bf59.image.jpg cyclone6.jpg berlin-10.jpg
 

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Messages
573
Location
Missouri
Sorry to go back to old topics but New Richmond and Fergus Falls were extremely violent tornadoes, and were likely the most intense ever documented in each of the respective states they occurred in.

New Richmond almost entirely swept away a large residential area of town (a previous poster already showed pictures of this), carried a safe weighing over 1 ton a full block, and leveled/partially swept away a large multi-story hotel.

Fergus Falls may have been even more violent. It completely debarked trees, swept away a train station, and even ripped railroad tracks from the ground at one location. That is VERY impressive. In addition, large and well-built homes were swept completely away in residential areas of town, with the the ground being pretty much swept clean of debris. Such a clean sweep in such a densely populated area is pretty remarkable. This is visible in the background of the panorama below, though you have to enlarge it to see. It's easy to miss because of the lack of debris, but check out the large the completely wiped clean foundations where large homes once were.
Fergusfallsmin1919.jpg


Oh and Flint was pretty monstrous too. Maybe not quite as impressive as the other two mentioned above due to all the photos showing poor foundation construction, but again, very impressive given the population/building density.
Railroad tracks being ripped from the ground is something I've read happening with many older tornadoes, such as Sherman, Pomeroy, and the Tri-State tornado but I've yet to find pictures of it anywhere. I know that rails today are made of a totally material then older ones were, so I wonder how modern rails would be affected by tornadic winds.
 

buckeye05

Member
Messages
686
Location
Riverside, Ohio
Ruskin Heights gets overlooked quite a bit, which is surprising considering how well-documented it was for the time. As a Kansas City, it's a bit of a legend up here. It also had a path of nearly 70 miles, quite impressive for a typical plains tornado. Some notable pics from it:

These first 2 are of it's touchdown near an airport near Ottawa, KS. The multi-vortex structure is clearly visible in the first one, quite an impressive shot for the time period:

View attachment 4499 View attachment 4500
This next show is the tornado in full force from a church near Spring Hill, KS.
View attachment 4501
These remaining pics are from when the tornado crossed over into the Missouri side of Kansas City. The first is of the severely damaged high school (note the gym beans bent down, only other time I've seen this is Udall, KS) and the remaining two are of suburban areas with entire rows of homes literally swept clean from their foundations. Granted, many of these were cheaply constructed postwar homes so it wouldn't exactly take much to blow them away, but the sheer amount of homes destroyed in this manner is incredible.
View attachment 4502 View attachment 4503 View attachment 4504
From what I understand, this hasn’t happened with more modern railroads, and this phenomenon is unique to older events. The Chapman, KS tornado in 2016 did warp and deform railroad tracks, though it didn’t rip them from the ground. That’s the only modern day example I can find of anything similar.
 

Fred Gossage

Member
Meteorologist
PerryW Project Supporter
Messages
223
Location
Florence, AL
From what I understand, this hasn’t happened with more modern railroads, and this phenomenon is unique to older events. The Chapman, KS tornado in 2016 did warp and deform railroad tracks, though it didn’t rip them from the ground. That’s the only modern day example I can find of anything similar.

I do know that many of the Class I railroads use longer, larger stretches of pre-fabricated track now where the rails and ties are already attached. These are usually concrete ties. I would think that has gone a decent way in stabilizing the integrity of the track. If we see serious damage to a mainline railroad that is made from that type of construction, it's probably going to be a big red flag in damage surveys.
 
Messages
573
Location
Missouri
I do know that many of the Class I railroads use longer, larger stretches of pre-fabricated track now where the rails and ties are already attached. These are usually concrete ties. I would think that has gone a decent way in stabilizing the integrity of the track. If we see serious damage to a mainline railroad that is made from that type of construction, it's probably going to be a big red flag in damage surveys.
Is it virtually impossible for a tornado to destroy modern rail, then? Sorry if that sounds like a silly question.
 
Messages
573
Location
Missouri
Another outbreak that is somewhat forgotten is the 3/23/1913 Northern Plains tornado outbreak. It is mostly known for the 1913 Omaha tornado but what is not talked about often are the 5 other F4s that struck Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana on that date. What was probably the most intense of these tornadoes was the Berlin tornado which might have even reached F5 intensity. It completely devastated the town of Berlin, many business homes were completely swept away, and two-story brick structures were leveled to the ground and partially swept away. In rural areas, entire farms (including "new and modern" ones) were leveled and swept away while nearby large trees were completely debarked. View attachment 4506 View attachment 4507 View attachment 4508 View attachment 4509 View attachment 4510 View attachment 4512
Holy crap that Berlin thing is crazy. The 1910s had quite a bit of crazy tornado events, particularly June 1916 and May-June 1917, which was absolutely ridiculous. Trying to find more info on both of these outbreaks.
 

andyhb

Member
Messages
261
Location
Norman, OK
Holy crap that Berlin thing is crazy. The 1910s had quite a bit of crazy tornado events, particularly June 1916 and May-June 1917, which was absolutely ridiculous. Trying to find more info on both of these outbreaks.
The stretch in late April of 1912 was also pretty insane. Both 4/20-22 and 4/27-29 featured major outbreaks in the Plains (the former also extended into the Midwest) with numerous strong-violent tornadoes (17 are rated F4 by Grazulis). It was one of the most intense periods of severe weather ever documented for those regions.

Also if you're looking for more on the May-June 1917 sequence, shameless plug of my article that I wrote back in 2017 for US Tornadoes: https://www.ustornadoes.com/2017/04...ys-of-mayhem-in-late-may-and-early-june-1917/

Also re: 3/23/1913, Berlin is now known as Otoe. The town of Yutan, NE was also devastated by an F4 associated with that outbreak, truly one of the more anomalous events on record given its intensity and location. Really only 3/13/1990 even comes close to that level in Nebraska/Iowa that early in the year.

1599672697926.png

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1599672854585.png
 
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Messages
573
Location
Missouri
And, most interesting to me, some photos from the Goessel, KS area. Really, the only photographs I've ever seen from that tornado.
View attachment 3868
View attachment 3869
View attachment 3870
Some more from Hesston
View attachment 3871
View attachment 3872
View attachment 3873

I mislabeled the top three as from Hesston, but they're from Goessel. Sourced from the same collection mentioned in the post above. I'd recommend checking that collection out. There are some videos that show the most comprehensive aerial footage I've seen of the town after the storm. In the storm data from March 1990, there's also mention of a chain link fence, rooted in concrete, that was moved twenty feet, creating a narrow trench in the ground. There's a photo of that in the collection as well that I won't post so as not to clutter the thread more than I already have.
And, most interesting to me, some photos from the Goessel, KS area. Really, the only photographs I've ever seen from that tornado.
View attachment 3868
View attachment 3869
View attachment 3870
Some more from Hesston
View attachment 3871
View attachment 3872
View attachment 3873

I mislabeled the top three as from Hesston, but they're from Goessel. Sourced from the same collection mentioned in the post above. I'd recommend checking that collection out. There are some videos that show the most comprehensive aerial footage I've seen of the town after the storm. In the storm data from March 1990, there's also mention of a chain link fence, rooted in concrete, that was moved twenty feet, creating a narrow trench in the ground. There's a photo of that in the collection as well that I won't post so as not to clutter the thread more than I already have.
Those Goessel pics are in the 'Stucky Photographs' section, took me a while to find them, as they weren't labeled as being from 'Stucky'. They really are fascinating, I'm curious as to why Fujita rated Goessel F5, though, but then again he made many questionable ratings in his career.
 
Messages
573
Location
Missouri
Given the foundation type, that doesn’t look like genuine F5 damage to me. It’s odd they’d give this single tornado an F5 rating, yet all from the 1965 Palm Sunday Outbreak just weeks prior were eventually rated F4, despite producing damage that was much more impressive than Colome/Gregory.

People talk about rating inconsistencies like it’s a new problem, but it’s always been there. Even with the old scale.
Given that this outbreak occurred in 1965, it would have been retroactively rated, correct? But yeah I still don't understand how Gregory is considered F5 but Palm Sunday 1965 has 17 F4s and not a single F5 among them. Fujita made many questionable ratings throughout his career, it seems.
 

andyhb

Member
Messages
261
Location
Norman, OK
Given that this outbreak occurred in 1965, it would have been retroactively rated, correct? But yeah I still don't understand how Gregory is considered F5 but Palm Sunday 1965 has 17 F4s and not a single F5 among them. Fujita made many questionable ratings throughout his career, it seems.
Fujita did not lower the ratings of the Palm Sunday tornadoes, it was the NWS who did that. The second Dunlap IN tornado (the one that destroyed the Sunnyside Subdivision) and the Pittsfield/Strongsville OH tornadoes were both originally rated F5 by Grazulis. I believe the Lebanon/Sheridan IN tornado was also a strong candidate.
 

MNTornadoGuy

Member
Messages
234
Location
Apple Valley, MN
Damage from the 2018 Carr Fire tornado. High tension towers were crumpled, trees were both uprooted and debarked, the ground was scoured in some spots, structures were destroyed by tornadic winds and a 25-ton bulldozer was lofted.
.jpg california-carr-fire-tornado-aftermath.jpg carr.png carr2.png Untitled.png
 
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SGFmoTwister

Member
Messages
28
Location
Springfield, Missouri, USA
Ruskin Heights gets overlooked quite a bit, which is surprising considering how well-documented it was for the time. As a Kansas City, it's a bit of a legend up here. It also had a path of nearly 70 miles, quite impressive for a typical plains tornado. Some notable pics from it:

These first 2 are of it's touchdown near an airport near Ottawa, KS. The multi-vortex structure is clearly visible in the first one, quite an impressive shot for the time period:

View attachment 4499 View attachment 4500
This next show is the tornado in full force from a church near Spring Hill, KS.
View attachment 4501
These remaining pics are from when the tornado crossed over into the Missouri side of Kansas City. The first is of the severely damaged high school (note the gym beans bent down, only other time I've seen this is Udall, KS) and the remaining two are of suburban areas with entire rows of homes literally swept clean from their foundations. Granted, many of these were cheaply constructed postwar homes so it wouldn't exactly take much to blow them away, but the sheer amount of homes destroyed in this manner is incredible.
View attachment 4502 View attachment 4503 View attachment 4504

I've updated the Ruskin Heights thread with some different pics.
Ruskin Heights thread
 
Messages
573
Location
Missouri
Damage from the 2018 Carr Fire tornado. High tension towers were crumpled, trees were both uprooted and debarked, the ground was scoured in some spots, structures were destroyed by tornadic winds and a 25-ton bulldozer was lofted.
View attachment 4535 View attachment 4536 View attachment 4537 View attachment 4538 View attachment 4540
This thing is so fascinating to me. Apparently fire whirls can be quite common, similar to many other non-tornadic whirlwinds like dust devils, steam devils, ash devils and snow devils but Redding is unique in that it is actually considered a 'firenado', a separate event from a fire whirl.


Footage of it:
Apparently the first time something like this was caught on camera was in Canberra, Australia back in 2003:


 

MNTornadoGuy

Member
Messages
234
Location
Apple Valley, MN
This thing is so fascinating to me. Apparently fire whirls can be quite common, similar to many other non-tornadic whirlwinds like dust devils, steam devils, ash devils and snow devils but Redding is unique in that it is actually considered a 'firenado', a separate event from a fire whirl.


Footage of it:
Apparently the first time something like this was caught on camera was in Canberra, Australia back in 2003:


There was another intense fire tornado near Burney Basin CA that was produced by the Elier Fire in 2014. It completely debarked cedar trees, a buried culvert was pulled up, a small barn was completely destroyed with sheet metal being carried up to 1/2 miles and 2-4 inches of topsoil was scoured. Screenshot_2020-09-16 Sci-Hub Fire Whirls Twisters That Light the Sky Weatherwise, 67(6), 12–2...png Screenshot_2020-09-16 Sci-Hub Fire Whirls Twisters That Light the Sky Weatherwise, 67(6), 12–2...png Screenshot_2020-09-16 Sci-Hub Fire Whirls Twisters That Light the Sky Weatherwise, 67(6), 12–2...png
 

andyhb

Member
Messages
261
Location
Norman, OK
Good thread here regarding Corey Potvin’s research into the differences between reported and statistically likely frequencies of significant tornadoes in the central US. Long story short, the EF-scale is heavily biased towards non-rural areas (as we already know). I’d also go one step further and suggest the high end ratings are biased in certain regions to larger settlements or based on outside factors like insurance claims...
 

warneagle

Member
Messages
2,187
Location
Arlington, VA
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I've mentioned the 1953 Warner Robins F4 before since it was in my hometown, but I'm curious about something. This video was taken on 30 April 1953. (It's extremely annoying that someone attached fake audio to it, but c'est la vie.)

Is it the first ever video of a violent tornado? The first tornado video in the US was taken less than two years before (8 June 1951 in Corn, OK).

This article has a few newspaper clippings from the tornado, mostly from the AJC. I'd like to see if the local papers had anything, but anything from that era is probably on microfilm rather than digitized.
 
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