Jim Allsopp on 50th Anniversary of Kankakee-Medaryville Tornado

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50th Anniversary of the Kankakee-Medaryville Tornado of April 17, 1963

Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist–National Weather Service Forecast Office-Chicago/Romeoville

Fifty years ago, on April 17, 1963, one of the most powerful and long-lived tornadoes ever documented in this area,  touched down near the town of Essex in northwestern Kankakee County. The tornado finally lifted near Medaryville in Pulaski County, Indiana. A damage survey conducted by Dr. Fujita confirmed a continuous damage path of 70 miles.

The tornado, which produced F4 damage in Bourbonnais and again at Gifford, Indiana, killed a young mother, injured 70 people and caused 3 million dollars in damage. A look back at this unique tornado, and a reminder that violent, long-tracked tornadoes do occur in this area.

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  • Katje

    There's only two videos, but he's clearly not done at the end of the second video. Is there a third that we're missing? Thanks so much!

  • Audrey Belding

    Mr. Allsopp, i was 12yrs old, living in rural Bourbonnais. I watched the tornado as it passed 3 miles south of our farm. It brought back many memories. It was an awesome sight. Your presentation was great. We had no damage to our farm, but some or our neighbors and friends did. I know some of the people you talked about. It was great to see pictures from that time. Thank you, Audrey Raymond- Belding