1957-05-20 F5 Ruskin Heights (MO)

PDailey

Kansas City / Pleasant Hill, MO
National Weather Service Weater Forecast Office:
http://test.crh.noaa.gov/eax/?n=ruskinheightstornado

Caught in the Path: A Tornado's Fury, A Community's Rebirth:
http://carolynglennbrewer.com/

Ruskin Heights Tornado Memorial:
http://ruskinheightstornado.arctecowl.com/

Stories from the Kansas side of the storm:
http://www.ohs57.com/id181.htm

The "first" tornado forecast:
http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?t=22960

Ruskin Heights Tornado : 51 Years Later
http://jacobrussellsbarkingdog.blogspot.com/2008/05/ruskin-heights-tornado-51-years.html

After the Tornado Photos:
http://ruskinheightstornado.tripod.com/id18.html

53rd Anniversary of the Ruskin Heights Tornado:
http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/05/53rd-anniversary-of-ruskin-heights.html

50 Year Anniversary of the Ruskin Heights Tornado:
http://bartonfamilyweb.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22

Ruskin Tornado Tales:
http://beforemay.tripod.com/ruskintornado/index.blog/1477474/memories-of-the-1957-ruskin-tornado/

Diary of a Disaster - The 1957 Ruskin Heights Tornado and 20th Anniversary of the Kansas City Disaster (Audio only - middle of the page):
http://library.umkc.edu/marr-collections/archival/bodine/audio
 
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Drew.Gardonia

Thanks for the post.

I still enjoy it when my Grandmother tells me stories about this tornado and the events that transpired upon this day. Both of my Grandfathers used to tell me stories as well, but both have passed on. But my Dad's, Mom and Dad lived directly in the path of the storm at the time, yet miraculously their house was not taken. Grandpa was painting the kitchen yellow that day, and when he looked out the window and saw it coming he grabbed the family and high tailed it across the street to the neighbors basement (Grandpa didn't have a house with a basement) and rode it out. He never painted another room yellow the rest of his life :D I laughed every time he told that story.

My Mother's, Mom and Dad were not in the path of it, but still went to the basement anyways.
 

PDailey

Kansas City / Pleasant Hill, MO
National Weather Service Weater Forecast Office:
http://test.crh.noaa.gov/eax/?n=ruskinheightstornado

Caught in the Path: A Tornado's Fury, A Community's Rebirth:
http://carolynglennbrewer.com/

Ruskin Heights Tornado Memorial:
http://ruskinheightstornado.arctecowl.com/

Stories from the Kansas side of the storm:
http://www.ohs57.com/id181.htm

The "first" tornado forecast:
http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?t=22960

Ruskin Heights Tornado : 51 Years Later
http://jacobrussellsbarkingdog.blogspot.com/2008/05/ruskin-heights-tornado-51-years.html

After the Tornado Photos:
http://ruskinheightstornado.tripod.com/id18.html

53rd Anniversary of the Ruskin Heights Tornado:
http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/05/53rd-anniversary-of-ruskin-heights.html

50 Year Anniversary of the Ruskin Heights Tornado:
http://bartonfamilyweb.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22

Ruskin Tornado Tales:
http://beforemay.tripod.com/ruskintornado/index.blog/1477474/memories-of-the-1957-ruskin-tornado/

Diary of a Disaster - The 1957 Ruskin Heights Tornado and 20th Anniversary of the Kansas City Disaster (Audio only - middle of the page):
http://library.umkc.edu/marr-collections/archival/bodine/audio

Re-Posted Damage Photos from Life by Grey Villet:






















































 
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NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
Thanks for posting the photos from "Life" & the color photos. I've never seen them before and they're quite compelling. We were about 10 miles north of the path of the tornado and I was just 5 years old, but I certainly remember that night, right down to the song playing on the juke box in the hamburger joint we were at with a huge storm raging outside.
 
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NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
Thanks. That would be a nice addition to the Carolyn Brewer books that focus on the human side of the story, but not the more technical aspects of the tornado.
 

NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
Our house was about 10 miles north of the path of this tornado & we had some lightweight debris in our yard. I remember items of clothing. At the time, people thought a separate funnel had gone over other parts of Kansas City. A few years ago I was trawling the web trying to find info on this. I found this article (or one similar to it) discussing the fallout of debris:

http://parker.ou.edu/~jsnow/Research/Debris/SSpreprint1.html

and halfway down in the addendum (Kansas-Missouri tornado of May 20, 1957)a reference to the Ruskin Heights tornado documenting the "numerous reports of small debris falling out over the city at a distance of 10 or more miles north of the tornado's path":

http://parker.ou.edu/~jsnow/Research/Debris/Addendum.html
 

NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
Here is another home video of the Ruskin Heights tornado damage. Once again, it's poor quality, but I wanted to link to it for the record. The first one I linked to looks like it may have some of the same footage as this one.

 

NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
And yet another:


You get a much better idea of the scope and intensity of this tornado from the "Life" photos.
 
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NancyM

EF2
Jun 14, 2013
179
125
11
I found an explanation for a minor mystery the night of the Ruskin Heights Tornado.

We were eating dinner at a hamburger joint in Fairway, 10+ miles north of the tornado path. A highway patrolman came in and told us there was a tornado (on the ground he said) and we were in the path and needed to take cover.

At this website, Tornado Talk, https://tornadotalk.com/ruskin-heights-mo-f5-tornado-may-20-1957/ I found this:

"1 funnel sighted aloft and heard as it passed northeastward over Overland Park and Fairway. "

The source for that information is from the Weather Bureau Climatological Data May 1957 vol. 8 no. 5, on page 31 towards the end of the long entry for Kansas.

 
Feb 19, 2021
74
95
6
Wichita
Because it happened to me and made such an impression at the age of five, I've always thought I, perhaps, over-estimated the intensity of this storm. I've personally looked at the damage of four F-5's and looking at the damage of this storm, I'm starting to wonder if Ruskin Heights should receive more attention by the meteorological community.

The intensity of the damage caused by the Ruskin storm is worse than Joplin and at least as strong as Greensburg's and 1999 Moore. It is a shame we cannot apply modern analysis techniques to it.
 
Mar 3, 2012
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I was just reminded of Ruskin Heights a few days ago when I came across this article in an old engineering journal:



Needless to say, the highlighted portion especially is a little.. out there, but it made me go back and revisit the event. It really was an extremely intense tornado. Incidentally, Bridge Creek - Moore was the first comparison I thought of in looking through some of the damage.
 
Feb 19, 2021
74
95
6
Wichita
Both Ruskin and Worcester had on-site engineering studies of the damage. Ruskin (F5) supposedly had 500 mph winds. Worcester (F4) 338 mph.

These have always puzzled me because the basic techniques of wind engineering haven't changed all that much. Did engineers not understand that wind force was not linear?

Of course, it seems the EF-scale badly underestimated peak winds (with EF-5 starting at 200 mph), especially based on recent research that was based on DOW measurements.

Does anyone have any insight as to why the '50's measurements were so high? Thank you.
 
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Feb 19, 2021
74
95
6
Wichita
At this website, Tornado Talk, https://tornadotalk.com/ruskin-heights-mo-f5-tornado-may-20-1957/ I found this:

"1 funnel sighted aloft and heard as it passed northeastward over Overland Park and Fairway. "

Based on my research into the event, including my conversation with the late Joe Augsley (the hero of the tornado), the primary tornado was the only one. I do remember the radio and my parents discussing reports on the radio of funnels all over the metro area. I suspect people were reporting the location from where they were seeing the tornado rather than the location of the tornado.