Udall holds memorial marking 68 years since deadliest tornado in Kansas history

The Udall tornado on May 25, 1955 killed more than 80 people.
The Udall tornado on May 25, 1955 killed more than 80 people.(Photo shown in presentation from author Jim Minick)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:55 PM CDT
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UDALL, Kan. (KWCH) - People in the small Cowley County town of Udall gathered at the community building Thursday for a memorial marking 68 years since the deadliest tornado in Kansas history.

On May 25, 1955, a violent F-5 tornado destroyed Udall, killed more than 80 people and injured hundreds.

Thursday night, people gathered to remember those who died that day with a moment of silence and a presentation from Virginia-based author Jim Minick whose book, “Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas,” covers the tragedy from nearly seven decades ago. When disaster struck, it was too late for many to react. People in Udall had no idea a tornado was coming because the mid-1950s was long before the weather service issued tornado warnings.

Before moving into Kansas, that same storm left a path of destruction through Texas and Oklahoma, killing 102 people and injuring hundreds. The deadly storms on May 25, 1955 led to the introduction of the National Weather Service’s warning system and the Storm Spotter Training Network.