1974-06-08 Emporia Kansas F4 tornado

STurner

EF2
Nov 21, 2008
182
1
0
Shawnee, KS 66217
I dont know if anybody knows much about this tornado but it happened in my hometown of Emporia around six years before I was born. Was this tornado at some point really a mile-wide for that is what tornado project has it listed as? I have seen some photos where damage occured which was around the Flint Hills Mall, and the area out by where Lincoln Village mobile home park and nearby the Coronado Hills. It caused roughly $20,000,000(1974) damage and was wondering if anybody knows anything else about this tornado.
 
Apr 10, 2008
460
120
11
Tulsa, OK
www.facebook.com
This day was before my time but I have studied this event some. I remember how everyone was talking up June 5, 2008 as being similar, however ended up being a bust.

Anyway June 8, 1974 was a very unique and potent setup for tornadoes, especially for so late in the season. You can find a few weather charts for this day here: http://bangladeshtornadoes.org/UScases70to84.html.


Just think about these conditions if you were a storm chaser near OKC on a muggy June afternoon.

SPC has likely gone with a high risk and a PDS tornado watch has been issued for much of OK and KS. Its 2pm and its 85/74 at OKC with a southeast wind of 20kts. A pronounced dryline buldge has developed to your southwest, south of a 992mb surface low which was located in southwest Kansas. Lawton was 99/53 with a southwest wind of 20kts! An outflow boundary was draped from northwest to southeast across the northeast third of Oklahoma. A potent upper level low was spinning over western Kansas with diffluent H5 winds of 50-70kts. On top of that LI's are -9 to -10! How excited would you be as a chaser?
 

STurner

EF2
Nov 21, 2008
182
1
0
Shawnee, KS 66217
This day was before my time but I have studied this event some. I remember how everyone was talking up June 5, 2008 as being similar, however ended up being a bust.

Anyway June 8, 1974 was a very unique and potent setup for tornadoes, especially for so late in the season. You can find a few weather charts for this day here: http://bangladeshtornadoes.org/UScases70to84.html.


Just think about these conditions if you were a storm chaser near OKC on a muggy June afternoon.

SPC has likely gone with a high risk and a PDS tornado watch has been issued for much of OK and KS. Its 2pm and its 85/74 at OKC with a southeast wind of 20kts. A pronounced dryline buldge has developed to your southwest, south of a 992mb surface low which was located in southwest Kansas. Lawton was 99/53 with a southwest wind of 20kts! An outflow boundary was draped from northwest to southeast across the northeast third of Oklahoma. A potent upper level low was spinning over western Kansas with diffluent H5 winds of 50-70kts. On top of that LI's are -9 to -10! How excited would you be as a chaser?
Yes sometimes I do forget that 6/8/74 was an outbreak of multiple long-lived/long-tracked strong/violent tornadoes. In fact I believe there were at least three dozen confirmed tornadoes. Even though I dont chase and from what little I know those numbers seem really impressive. Whether I chase or not those type of numbers would be getting me all hyped up.
 
Sep 26, 2007
71
0
5
T-Town, OK
Drumright, OK, got absolutely smashed by a large tornado that day. Tulsa was hit by two tornadoes and flash flooding.

The old weather service office in OKC was hit by the first tornado of the day and Tulsa weather service basically took over warnings for the state at that point.
 

Mike Smith

I devote an entire chapter to that day in Warnings. The chapter title is "The Day TV Weather Grew Up."

The Emporia tornado was on the warm front.

There was a strong negatively-tilted short wave that moved into the southern Plains. The large outbreak in Oklahoma occurred with a mesolow on the dry line near FSI that moved rapidly northeast. After the four tornadoes in Oklahoma County, the dry line moved through with blowing dust but the mammatus clouds protruding down through the dust at sunset. It was an amazing sight.
 
Sep 26, 2007
71
0
5
T-Town, OK
Mike,

that was "the day" for me that pushed me into this career. Some days I blame it, some days I thank it.

Larry Ruthi wrote his master's thesis on the events of June 8, IIRC.

As a little boogereater in Tulsa, I was just fascinated by the night of storms and the damage the next day.
 
Feb 14, 2005
879
22
11
Charleston, South Carolina
Interesting how two TV mets covering this event from OKC on that day have such a different recollection. Reading Mike Smith's chapter on the 06/08/74 event, it seems like a "victory" for TV meteorology as it was forecast and covered well. However, there is a paragraph in the book "Storm Warning" by Nancy Mathis, where Gary England (TV met for KWTV) recalls the event as a surprise tornado outbreak and regrets the sixteen deaths occuring in his viewing area. I suppose the viewing areas of the 2 stations might have been different (Drumright included?), but if you read the two accounts it is really a different take.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
2,986
1,498
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
If that 500 mb analysis at 09/00Z is accurate, that's an amazing temperature structure near the low. Only -5 at OUN and -6 at AMA, but -14 at DDC. I suppose being at 00Z it's possible that the OUN sounding was convectively altered, but that seems pretty warm for the proximity to the low center, especially given temps to the east being a few degrees cooler.
 

Mike Smith

Interesting how two TV mets covering this event from OKC on that day have such a different recollection. Reading Mike Smith's chapter on the 06/08/74 event, it seems like a "victory" for TV meteorology as it was forecast and covered well. However, there is a paragraph in the book "Storm Warning" by Nancy Mathis, where Gary England (TV met for KWTV) recalls the event as a surprise tornado outbreak and regrets the sixteen deaths occuring in his viewing area. I suppose the viewing areas of the 2 stations might have been different (Drumright included?), but if you read the two accounts it is really a different take.
Drumright was in Tulsa ADI ("area of dominant influence") which is what viewing areas were called in 1974. I don't know whose viewing area (OKC or TUL) it falls in today. There were no deaths in the OKC ADI on June 8. I have literally boxes of files on that day and what I wrote about in Warnings is 100% accurate.

Gary was broadcasting that day but I was so busy I can't offer an opinion as to how well he might have done with those storms. I was helped by the fact that Jim Williams and Larry Brown both came in to assist.
 

Doug

EF0
Apr 26, 2014
31
1
6
Emporia Kansas
I have the only known picture of the 1974 tornado that hit Emporia my home town. i also have lots of damage pictures as well was an F-4 and a long track tornado.
 

Doug

EF0
Apr 26, 2014
31
1
6
Emporia Kansas
I will get all the pictures i can of My Hometown damage Scanned in.This weekend and i will share them As for the Picture of the Tornado It was the only known picture of the Tornado that was taken outside Emporia near Reading lake. By a man from Topeka.
 

Doug

EF0
Apr 26, 2014
31
1
6
Emporia Kansas
Marcus Diaz said:
Hope you enjoy the Pictures all pictures was taken By my Parents in 1974 The Tornado picture was not Taken by My Parents it was by a man out of Topeka KS near Reading Lake In Lyon County this was small compared to what it looked like as i watched it tear up my Hometown
 

Mike Pearis

Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2015
2
0
0
Raymore, MO
I remember this day well, I was 7 years old and we were driving our Volkswagen camper from home in the Kansas City area to my grandmothers house in Wichita and we passed through Emporia early in the morning following the tornado. I was heartbroken to
see children's toys scattered along the edge of the interstate and fascinated with winds powerful enough to move a mobile home. I remember the trailer park along the west side of the highway was hit pretty bad. I was in my PJ's staring out the window and I desperately wanted to stop and pick up all the toys and get them back to their owners.