WX History: May 20th

1894: A record late snow of two to eight inches whitened parts of central and eastern Kentucky. Lexington received six inches of snow, and Springfield Kentucky received 5 inches.

1916: In three consecutive years, a tornado passed near or through the town of Codell, Kansas. The tornado on this day was an estimated F2. The estimated F3 tornado in 1917 moved two miles west of town. Finally, an estimated F4 tornado moved through Codell on May 20th, 1918. This tornado killed 9 and injured at least 65 others.

May 20, 1916 Codell, Kansas Tornado X3

Source: The Weather Doctor.

1957: A tornado touched down to the southwest of Kansas City and traveled a distance of seventy-one miles cutting a swath of near destruction through the southeastern suburbs of Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills. The tornado claimed the lives of forty-five persons and left hundreds homeless. It was the worst weather disaster on record for Kansas City. About all that remained of one house were a small table and a fishbowl atop, with the fish still swimming about inside the bowl. A canceled check from Hickman Hills was found in Ottumwa, Iowa, 165 miles away. Pilots reported debris at an altitude of 30,000 feet.

May 20, 1957 RUSKIN TORNADO JANICKE KCSTAR
This tornado was near Spring Hill, Kansas. The original photograph was taken from the north porch of the Methodist Church. The photograph has been cosmetically enhanced.

Source: NWS Office in Kansas City.

1983: A bow echo passed through the Houston area during the early morning hours on May 20th. The storm system caused 11 fatalities. The bow echo produced four downburst swaths and eight tornadoes. 

May 20, 1983 Houston Bow Echo

 

May 20, 1983 Houston Bow Echo 2
Images above are courtesy of Storm Data.

 

2013: Several supercell thunderstorms developed during the early afternoon of May 20th along with a dry line in central Oklahoma. One of these storms developed near Chickasha and rapidly intensified, producing a tornado which touched down at 2:56 PM CDT on the west side of Newcastle. The tornado became violent within minutes, then tracked east-northeastward across the city of Moore and parts of south Oklahoma City for about 40 minutes before finally dissipating near Lake Stanley Draper. The tornado caused catastrophic damage in these areas and was given a maximum rating of EF-5. The tornado claimed 24 lives, injured scores of people, and caused billions of dollars in damage.

May 20, 2013 Moore Ok Tornado

Sources: NWS Norman, Oklahoma  TornadoTalk.com  USTornadoes.com

2017

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