Path length: 20.4 miles
Width: 440 yards
County: Craig (OK) / Labette (KS)
In today’s summary, we are looking at an F4 that made a trek over 20 miles from Craig County in Oklahoma into Southeast KS. There is a little confusion on how this tornado tracked and which counties should be included in the track.
First of all, when you plot the SPC coordinates, the tornado started in Craig County, OK southeast of Hollow and ended in Labette County, KS south of Oswego. The SPC and NCDC Databases only list Craig (OK) and Labette (KS) Counties in the path.
Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes has the path going from just south of Hollow, moving NNE to SW of Chetopa. He also mentions damage SE of Oswego. He included Cherokee County, KS in the path.
In Storm Data, there is an entry for Oklahoma and one for Kansas. In the OK entry, it states the tornado went from just south of Hollow, OK into KS to SW of Chetopa.
The Kansas entry increases the confusion a bit. The locations included in this entry: Montgomery, Labette and Cherokee Counties in Kansas. The summary is an overall look at a severe storm that produced 2 tornadoes, 3 funnel clouds, hail and severe wind in this area. It states, “the tornadoes covered a path of 8 miles from near Bartlett to about 3 miles SE of Oswego.”
I am deducing that one of these tornadoes is an extension of the one out of Oklahoma and we can end the path SE of Oswego. The SPC database does include another tornado in Labette County. The rating given was F2. This would account for the other tornado mentioned here.
My conclusion: only the 2 counties (Craig & Labette) should be included in the path of this F4.
The Storm Data entry in Oklahoma says there was no damage here. Grazulis states that a motel was destroyed.
The F4 damage was found on 3 out of 5 farms SE of Oswego, KS.
The SPC database includes one fatality. It was recorded in the Storm Data entry. A man died from heart failure as he drove away from the approaching tornado. Grazulis does not include this as a direct death from the tornado. There was one injury. A man was struck by flying debris as he sought shelter in a ditch.
It should be noted that the tornado was a slow mover. Per Storm Data, “the funnel clouds moved exceptionally slow with a tremendous roar which allowed folks in the path to seek safety.”
I did not find much in the newspaper articles on this event, just general information, no pictures.
Storm Data Entry
Hollow, Craig County:
Tornado moved on the ground through open country from just south of Hollow to across the state line into Kansas southwest of Chetopa. No damage was reported in Oklahoma. Hail up to 1 1/4 inches in diameter fell over an area 7 miles long and 3 miles wide north of Welch to the Kansas border. Considerable damage resulted to property and unharvested soybean and maize crops. Lightning was continuous. Storm moved north-northeastward.
Montgomery, Labette, and Cherokee Counties:
A severe thunderstorm over the southeastern counties produced 2 tornadoes, 3 funnel clouds, hail and severe wind. The tornadoes covered a path of 8 miles from near Bartlett to about 3 miles southeast of Oswego. Damage was done at 5 farms and at 3 of these buildings were utterly destroyed. The funnel clouds moved exceptionally slow with a tremendous warning roar which allowed folks in the path to seek safety. Many escaped by driving out of the path of the approaching storm. One man was struck by flying debris as he sought shelter in a terrace ditch. Another man died from heart failure as he endeavored to drive away from the approaching tornado. Hail was so severe south of Oswego 2 miles that car windows were broken. One funnel cloud was sighted 10 miles southeast of independence, one near Baxter Springs and one near Columbus. A bewildered deer collided with a highway patrol car near Chetopa. The deer was killed and the car badly damaged.
We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the September 1959 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:
- SPC/NCDC have a 20.4 mile path length.
- Grazulis and Storm Data have a length at 20 miles.
- Grazulis has a width of 400 yards.
- Remaning sources have a width of 440 yards.
- Grazulis does not list a fatality.
- Remaning sources have one fatality.
Counties in Path:
- Grazulis lists Craig (OK), Labette and Cherokee (KS).
- Storm Data has the same as Grazulis and lists Montgomery (KS) as well.
- SPC/NCDC list Craig (OK) and Labette (KS) only.
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