SPC Stats

Path length: 9 miles

Width:  300 yards

Fatalities:  15

Injuries:  5

Rating:  F4

County:  Butler

A destructive tornado hit parts of El Dorado, KS in Butler County on this day in 1958.  It was given a rating of F4 but Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes notes the tornado could have received an F5 rating but it was hard to determine with the available photos and descriptions.  

The tornado began 7 miles WNW of El Dorado and moved ESE passing through the SW part of town.  Grazulis notes that a 45-block area was “torn apart”.  Approximately 200 homes were destroyed. Only 5 injuries listed in the SPC database.  The Climatological Data National Summary (CDNS) and Grazulis both list 50 injuries which is probably more correct.

A couple of odd occurrences listed in the CDNS summary:

  • Eight $100 bills were found intact in an envelope far from owner’s home in El Dorado. 
  • A boy found with a dozen splintered sticks protruding from his chest. 
  • A woman was sucked through window and blown 60 feet from house and beside her was found a broken record, entitled “Stormy Weather”.  

A few more listed below in the full CDNS entry.

Climatological Data National Summary Entry

Tornado formed in clouds and almost immediately hit ground 7 miles west and 2 north of business portion of El Dorado.  Rate of travel estimated at about 30 mph.  Funnel cloud had grey-whitish appearance instead of usual black coloring.  Damage path through new residential section of southwest portion of town.  Hail of golf-ball size fell for a distance of 1/2 mile on either side of tornado path.  Elementary school and approximately 200 homes and many house trailers destroyed or badly damaged.  4 main electric trunk lines severed.  3 miles of telephone lines and 97 poles destroyed, these alone were a lost of $55,000.  441 families affected.

Some unusual features were;  a government bond found 60 miles southeast of El Dorado that bore El Dorado address;  eight $100 bills found intact in envelope far from owner’s home in El Dorado;  Boy found with a dozen splintered sticks protruding from his chest;  woman sucked through window and blown 60 feet from house and beside her was found a broken record, entitled “Stormy Weather”; automobile carried more than a block and jammed through roof where it lodged between a bed and a dresser.  

Storm moved east-southeastward.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 37.85 / -97.02   End:  37.83 / -96.85      

Official SPC Coordinates are off.  Path should track through SW part of town, that is where greatest damage occurred. 

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Image via El Dorado, KS Website

1958 Tornado Victims Memorial in Graham Park via eldoks.com

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the June 1958 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 9 mile path.
  • Grazulis and CDNS have a length at 8 miles.

Injuries:

  • SPC/NCDC list 5 injuries.
  • Grazulis and CDNS have 50 injuries.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      June 1958 Climatological Data National Summary

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1015-1016.

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