The Ides of April

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Well, it’s April 15th again. Happy IRS Day! That’s not actually what I’m going to write about today though.

A Blogfriend from Kansas and I have been chatting a bit in her comment stream about the weather. Kansas had at the last count I’ve heard 91 tornadoes yesterday (we were in the watch area too) and today isn’t too pleasant either. Rain and thunderstorms and what we call breezy out here (about 30 mph).

It was a rough night in the Midwestern states, as at least five people have been killed in Oklahoma and a disaster emergency has been declared in Kansas following another deadly tornado outbreak.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management information officer Keli Cain confirmed there were five deaths in the Woodward area of north-west Oklahoma.

Two of those killed were children.

In Kansas, governor Sam Brownback issued a declaration of disaster emergency to help speed relief to areas affected by the storms. “We are continuing to assess all the damages across the state,” said Brownback, “and signing this declaration clears the way for making state aid available to those counties that need help with clean-up and recovery.”

Dozens of tornadoes were reported yesterday as baseball-sized hail broke windows and ripped the siding off homes in northeast Nebraska. One tornado damaged a hospital in Creston, Iowa. Several homes were wrecked in Kansas.

In all, there 112 recorded tornadoes in Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana and Oklahoma.

The states in the bull’s-eye for dangerous conditions today (Sunday) will be Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, according to CNN Meteorologist Alexandra Steele.

Authorities are urging everyone in the region to follow weather reports and make emergency preparations.

Approximately 5 million residents from Wisconsin to Texas “need to be on guard,” Steele said.

It got me to thinking about other April 15ths that I remember.

The first one that I really remember was a blizzard of heavy wet (lake effect) snow in Northwestern Indiana. I probably remember it because my youngest niece was born that day. Mom and my other sister barely got home shortly after lunch from the hospital, and Dad got stuck on the way home. It happened that, of course, my other brother-in law was home from Fort Wayne too, and got called in to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad and he got stuck about a quarter-mile from Dad. Dad having his company car surveyed the mess and realizing that the car wasn’t going to restart, got on the radio, called and the company sent a 4 wheel drive winch truck out to retrieve them both. When they got Dad’s car into the shop they figured out why it wouldn’t run; the engine compartment to the hood was packed with snow! That took a bit over three miles to happen.

Although it wasn’t exactly the 15th (it was the 11th) the Palm Sunday tornadoes is the next one to come to mind. I wrote some about my experience with it here. It was a huge mess all across the Old Northwest. Here is part of Wikipedia’s article.

The second Palm Sunday tornado outbreak occurred on April 11, 1965 and involved 47 tornadoes (15 significant, 17 violent, 21 killers) hitting the Midwest. It was the second biggest outbreak on record. In the Midwest, 271 people were killed and 1,500 injured (1,200 in Indiana). It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in Indiana history with 137 people killed.[1] The outbreak also made that week the second most active week in history with 51 significant and 21 violent tornadoes.

Meteorological synopsis

The tornadoes occurred in a 450 miles (720 km) swath west-to-east from Clinton County, Iowa, to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and a 200 miles (320 km) swath north-to-south from Kent County, Michigan, to Montgomery County, Indiana. The outbreak lasted 11 hours and is among the most intense outbreaks — in terms of number, strength, width, path, and length of tornadoes — ever recorded, including 4 “double/twin funnel” tornadoes.

This is the fourth deadliest day for tornadoes on record, trailing the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, which killed 315, the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak which killed 322, and the outbreak that included the Tri-State Tornado which killed 747. It occurred on Palm Sunday, an important day in the Christian religion, and many people were attending services at church, one possible reason why some warnings were not received. There had been a short winter that year, and as the day progressed, the temperature rose to 83 °F (28 °C) in some areas of Midwestern United States.

Indiana
F3 NE of Knox to S of South Bend Starke, Marshall, St. Joseph, Elkhart 22:45 35.6 miles
(57 km)
10 deaths – 30 cottages were destroyed and 70 others were damaged. 26 homes, one church and one high school were also destroyed. There were 82 people injured.
F3 S of Crown Point to SE of Laporte Porter, Laporte 23:10 33.1 miles
(53 km)
Several homes and barns were destroyed and 4 people were injured.
F4 W of Wakarusa to NW of Middlebury Elkhart 23:15 21.2 miles
(34 km)
14 deaths – Destroyed Midway Trailer Park in Dunlap and numerous other homes. Was photographed as a double funnel. 1st of 2 tornadoes hitting the town of Dunlap and the Elkhart region.
F4 NE of Goshen to W of Orland Elkhart, LaGrange 23:40 21.6 miles
(34.6 km)
5 deaths – A dozen homes were demolished
F4 Manitou Beach-Devils Lake, Michigan (1st tornado) Steuben, IN, Branch, MI, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw 00:00 90.3 miles
(144.5 km)
23 deaths – Starting just south of the Indiana-Michigan state line, the massive tornado caused extensive damage to the Manitou Beach region and southwestern suburbs of Detroit. First of two violent tornadoes to affect the same large portion of Lower Michigan.
F4 SE of Lafayette to W of Russiaville Tippecanoe, Clinton 00:07 21.8 miles
(34.9 km)
Several homes and other buildings were destroyed or damaged.
F4 SE of South Bend to NE of Shipshewana St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaGrange 00:10 37 miles
(59.2 km)
36 deaths – Second violent tornado struck the Dunlap/Elkhart region in just over an hour. Destroyed an entire subdivision of the town of Dunlap. Affected rescue efforts after the first tornado. Also was witnessed as a double funnel tornado. Was rated an F5 but downgraded to a F4.
F4 Russiaville to SE of Marion, Indiana and Greentown, Indiana Clinton, Howard, Grant 00:20 48 miles
(76.8 km)
25 deaths – Large sections of Russiaville, southern Kokomo and Alto were destroyed. Over 800 people were injured.
F4 SE of Crawfordsville to Arcadia Montgomery, Boone, Hamilton 00:50 45.7 miles
(73.1 km)
28 deaths – 80 homes were destroyed and over 100 people were injured.
F4 W of Montpellier, IN to N of Spencerville, OH Blackford, IN, Wells, Adams, Mercer, OH, Van Wert 01:10 52.5 miles
(84 km)
4 deaths – F4 damage was observed in Keystone in Wells County. Crossed into Ohio where it destroyed five homes and damaged five others.

Note that the one’s I’ve listed are just the ones in Indiana.

Read the entire article here.

If you’re a denizen of the Old Northwest or the Great Plains, never mind the Ides of March, Beware the Ides of April, even without the IRS.

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