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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