Despite what my children believe, I was not around in 1957. There was one weather event that year in Missouri that has sadly been forgotten by many, but not the people of the Kansas City area who were nearly wiped off the map by a monster EF-5 killer twister.

We are approaching the 67th anniversary of what happened in Kansas City on May 20, 1957. The National Weather Service says the tornado first touched down at 6:15pm local time early that evening in eastern Kansas near Williamsburg. It would remain on the ground for 71 miles and would eventually grow into a nearly half-mile wide monster tornado.  

Ancient Air Theatre via YouTube
Ancient Air Theatre via YouTube

It's known as the Ruskin Heights twister due to the fact that it flattened a good part of this Kansas City suburb that night. Here are some harrowing numbers shared by the National Weather Service about the damage done by this Kansas/Missouri tornado:

  • The tornado grew to 700 yards wide and moved at 42 miles per hour
  • 37 Missouri residents were killed
  • 7 Kansas residents lost their lives
  • This EF-5 was one of 37 tornadoes that touched down on May 20, 1957
  • 531 people were injured

Some of the pictures shared by the National Weather Service of that tornado are terrifying. It was a large wedge twister. 

As the years past, fewer people remain alive that lived in the Kansas City, Missouri area that day. That translates into a tragic weather event that is slowly being forgotten. Considering how much that part of Kansas City has grown in the past 67 years, I fear what would happen if a similar tornado carved a path like this EF-5 did in 1957.

75 Years Ago, Monster Tornado Destroys 80% of Small Illinois Town

Gallery Credit: Ancient Air Theatre via YouTube

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