Kansas tornado stirs up recollections of Andover's deadly 1991 twister

·2 min read
Kansas tornado stirs up recollections of Andover's deadly 1991 twister

Andover, Kan., found itself in the path of a damaging twister on Friday -- almost exactly 31 years after a deadly F5 tornado roared through the city.

As many as 50-100 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by the twister, American media outlets reported. No fatalities have been documented, but there were accounts of minor injuries. Thousands were left in the dark afterwards.

SEE ALSO: Andover, Kansas' 1991 tornado is America's scariest home video

According to city fire Chief Chad Russell, more than 950 buildings were in the pathway of the tornado. "We had many buildings in Andover take very tough damage," said Russell, during a press conference, noting some homes were "completely blown down."

He also stated that recovery efforts will take years. "Unfortunately, we've been through this before," he added, referencing the destructive and deadly F5 tornado that struck the city on April 26, 1991.

As a result of the severe weather, a state of emergency was declared by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

Andover, Kansas tornado/Storyful
Andover, Kansas tornado/Storyful

(Josie Bahr/Storyful)


Just a few days ago was the 31-year anniversary of the 1991 F5 tornado that killed 17 people. It was part of an outbreak on April 26 that hit the central U.S., producing at least 55 tornadoes that killed 21 people in a 19-hour window. The Andover tornado was more than 600 yards wide at its peak, destroying a large part of the community.

Andover F5 Tornado
Andover F5 Tornado

1991 Andover, Kan., tornado that killed 17 people on April 26. (National Weather Service)

The tornado was on the ground for an hour and travelled almost 74 kilometres. Andover's population at the time was around 4,300. The tornado destroyed 300 homes, leaving a third of residents homeless. The tornado also flattened 10 businesses and two churches.

Friday's tornado developed from a supercell that came to fruition over Wichita, ahead of a cold front. The standalone cell quickly evolved, strengthening from a non-severe thunderstorm to a supercell that produced a tornado in about 30 minutes, according to reports.

Tracking through Andover, about 16 kilometres to the east, the twister chucked debris as high as 21,000 feet into the air. A damage rating has yet to be determined, but preliminary analysis suggests it could be designated an EF-3.

Andover tornado damage/Storyful
Andover tornado damage/Storyful

(Blake Robinson/Storyful)

The twister was spawned from the same Colorado low that is threatening Manitoba and northwestern Ontario with flooding rains this weekend.

The Andover tornado wasn't the only one reported Friday -- with 14 total accounts from the Plains that were received by the National Weather Service (NWS). Of which, 11 of them originated in Kansas and three in Nebraska.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Thumbnail courtesy of Josie Bahr/Storyful.

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