From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 16, 1988:
As predicted, the previous day's high of 76 degrees, reached at about noon, had been succeeded by a rapid drop in the mercury. By 5 p.m., the temperature had dropped to 60 degrees; an hour later it was at 45 degrees, and overnight it had dropped below freezing. Lawrence had escaped the severe weather that had accompanied the weather-change for many Kansans, including the people of Topeka, who had experienced a tornado shortly before 2 p.m. Jennifer Stanley, a student who had been in class at Topeka West High School at the time, described the experience: "It got really loud. Everyone's ears started popping and the teacher told us to get down. All the windows started popping out. There was dust everywhere and it was hard to breathe." Early reports indicated the tornado had destroyed as many as 20 homes in the capital city and severely damaged about 50 more. Topeka resident Donna Clark said that the twister had been "so quick and powerful that we couldn't do anything." Seeing her car fly past her into the yard, she reported, "I thought, 'My God, I'm gone.'" After being picked up briefly by the wind, she had been able to grab a chair that she said prevented her being sucked through a window. Two employees at a Topeka shoe store also being taken by surprise: "All we had time to do was run," said the store manager. "The glass was chasing us all the way to the back of the store." Elsewhere in the state, tornadoes had knocked down trees, taken out power lines, and destroyed businesses and homes. The same system had brought the season's first snowstorm to western Kansas, closing some stretches of highway as blizzard-like conditions reduced visibility on the roads.