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Archive for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

40 years ago: Spring storm wreaks havoc throughout Lawrence

June 18, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for June 18, 1973:

Today was a Monday morning in 1973 and as there was no Sunday Journal-World at that time, this morning's edition was the first chance the city had of sharing news and pictures of a tremendous storm that had cut an estimated 20-mile path through northeast Kansas a few minutes after 4 p.m. Saturday. One article began by describing the anemometer at the Lawrence Municipal Airport which had managed to clock wind speeds of about 100 miles an hour before it was struck by so much debris that it blew off and flew through the control tower window nearby. It was too early for damage estimates, but the late-spring storm had snapped stoplights and telephone poles and sheared off roofs in Lawrence. As for the damage to plant life, "the tree loss is inestimable," according to today's article. Eight people had been treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for storm-related injuries, including four for injuries from "mobile home turbulence" and four for cuts from flying glass. "There was not an area in the city that was not affected," said Kansas Power and Light Company manager Austin Stedham. "I think in my 10 years in Lawrence this was the worst.... There was more total destruction than I've ever seen." Wayne Bly, director of the city parks and recreation department, confirmed this morning that South Park was "a veritable disaster." Aside from the broken wind gauge, Lawrence Airport general manager Bill Randall was reporting about $20,000 in damage, including four planes which were damaged when the south doors of the main hangar had blown inwards; the north doors were "all buckled and damaged so they are unusable," Randall said.

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