1991-04-26: Andover, Kansas F5 tornado

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Joey Ketcham

It is hard to believe that, tomorrow, it has been 20 years since the April 26th, 1991 outbreak. I was only 10 years old at the time, and it is the earliest tornado outbreak I have in memory. Two events in my life lead to having an interest in severe weather and storm chasing, the April 26th, 1991 outbreak being one. The other was in 1988 when a tornado hit the north end of the town I live in.

I can't remember a whole lot from that day, I remember watching the live coverage on TV, radar being shown and seeing video and pictures of the aftermath. I remember when videos and pictures of the tornado started being shown on TV, I was amazed at the size of the tornado.

My dad worked for the electric company here in Pittsburg and remember him and several others from the electric company went to the Wichita/Andover area to assist in restoring power and him being gone for more than a week. When he came home described it as being like a war-zone.

It's hard to believe how much time has gone by since that memorable day.
 
Apr 2, 2009
98
0
6
Wichita, KS
Wichita affiliate KWCH-TV has dedicated a page to the 20 year anniversary. Lots of videos and same-day broadcasts of the tornado during its height in the Wichita and Andover areas. A couple videos of the monster I haven't seen a lot of..

http://www.kwch.com/news/andovertornado/

Can't believe it's been 20 years. I was 8 at the time and although I didn't see the Andover storm, I did see the funnel that produced a tornado in the Goddard area on the west side of Wichita at the same time the bigger storm was forming in Clearwater. Never will forget how muggy it was that day and showing off my "weather maps" to my family. This event definitely inspired me into the love and fascination I have with severe weather and tornadoes today.
 
Feb 14, 2005
879
22
11
Charleston, South Carolina
A couple of things about the Andover tornado, as there's not much written about its impact in between McConnell AFB and Andover. There were a couple of areas impacted - one was the neighborhood known as Greenwich Heights, along Greenwich Road in between Pawnee and Harry streets. Another was a neighborhood known as Springdale, along 143rd street between U.S. 54 (Kellogg) and Harry Street. Some maps I have seen (like the one here: http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/outbreaks/the-andover-kansas-outbreak-1991) erroneously show a straight line path between the AFB and Andover, so show it crossing 143rd street north of U.S. 54. In fact, it crossed 143rd steet SOUTH of U.S. 54. I know this because I grew up in Springdale and still had friends of family there at the time of the event and some houses were destroyed. I even visited there a few years later and you could clearly see the path because of the stunted trees. Anyway, it went on to completely destroy the church I attended as a kid, St. Vincent de Paul, located right across Andover Road from the Golden Spur mobile home park, which has long since been beautifully rebuilt. As a matter of fact, the town of Andover is now a very attractive, vibrant and fast-growing community.
 
Oct 27, 2011
52
0
5
Panama City, FL
Looking back through the data on this event, I discovered that this was the day which started my fascination with weather. I was living in Coffeyville, KS just east of where the Tornado hit in Montgomery County. I can remember the sirens going on and off every few minutes that evening pretty vividly to this day.
 
Jun 15, 2009
11
0
1
Wichita, KS
I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school, and I had known 3 days out that that particular Friday was going to be huge. A few random memories from that day:

- I set my alarm extra early that morning to watch the PBS aviation weather show, which showed the SPC (back then, NSSFC) convective outlooks. Even though I had never seen a high risk day personally, I really thought that day was going to be one. Sure enough, it was.

- I told my friends in school who knew I was a weather geek that it was going to be a huge day. They were pretty flippant. Monday when I came back to school, they thought I was a god, even though I was just relaying info that I had heard and seen all week.

- I still have cassette tapes of the infamous KFDI mobile units chasing this tornado and calling weatern Butler county a "Purple Hell" during the event.

- I lived in Newton at the time and we had baseball sized hail around 5pm with the tornado sirens blasting (a different tornado than the one that hit Andover).

Overall, this day, along with the Hesston tornado March 13, 1990, were two of the most memorable weather days growing up in Newton, and really contributed to my passion for the field.
 

calvinkaskey

Guest
Feb 17, 2014
384
30
11
I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school, and I had known 3 days out that that particular Friday was going to be huge. A few random memories from that day:

- I set my alarm extra early that morning to watch the PBS aviation weather show, which showed the SPC (back then, NSSFC) convective outlooks. Even though I had never seen a high risk day personally, I really thought that day was going to be one. Sure enough, it was.

- I told my friends in school who knew I was a weather geek that it was going to be a huge day. They were pretty flippant. Monday when I came back to school, they thought I was a god, even though I was just relaying info that I had heard and seen all week.

- I still have cassette tapes of the infamous KFDI mobile units chasing this tornado and calling weatern Butler county a "Purple Hell" during the event.

- I lived in Newton at the time and we had baseball sized hail around 5pm with the tornado sirens blasting (a different tornado than the one that hit Andover).

Overall, this day, along with the Hesston tornado March 13, 1990, were two of the most memorable weather days growing up in Newton, and really contributed to my passion for the field.
I REMEMBER SEEING A FIRE HYDRANT RIPPED FROM THE GROUND ON TWC. HAVE YOU HEARD OF THAT?
 

Heath Powell

Enthusiast
Mar 7, 2010
2
0
0
Overland Park, KS
To mark the 25th anniversary of this event, the Wichita Eagle has several write-ups from several who were there. IMHO, the most incredible footage of any tornado EVER has to be the Earl "Duke" Evans video taken from a nearby country club just as the tornado approaches and hits Andover at full-on F5 ferocity. The rotation and multiple vortexes in this sequence is still the most violent I have seen even all these years later. Video and interview with Mr: Evans: http://www.kansas.com/news/weather/article73540802.html You may need a membership to view.
 
Apr 22, 2010
32
10
6
Richmond, VA
To mark the 25th anniversary of this event, the Wichita Eagle has several write-ups from several who were there. IMHO, the most incredible footage of any tornado EVER has to be the Earl "Duke" Evans video taken from a nearby country club just as the tornado approaches and hits Andover at full-on F5 ferocity. The rotation and multiple vortexes in this sequence is still the most violent I have seen even all these years later. Video and interview with Mr: Evans: http://www.kansas.com/news/weather/article73540802.html You may need a membership to view.

Ya, this is my standard for 'violent tornado appearance'. Incredible horizontal and vertical motion. Years ago when I first saw the video, I thought the tape had been sped up.