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Kansas Tornado

Updated on April 30, 2016

What is it Like Inside a Tornado?

This is an account of an actual tornado experience. A Kansas farmer lived through the disaster and was able to give this accurate and vivid report to the Dodge City weather bureau. Here is a man standing up to one of the most awesome and ferocious natural enemies. Man and nature live in harmony most of the time, but in this firsthand account a man faces nature during one of her brutal rampages.

I took this picture of a funnel cloud that dipped down and tried to become a tornado almost a year ago.

The Twister

By Will Keller

On the afternoon of June 22, 1928, between three and four o'clock, I noticed an umbrella shaped cloud in the west and southwest and from its appearance suspected there was a tornado in it. The air had that peculiar oppressiveness which nearly always precedes the coming of a tornado.

I saw at once my suspicions were correct. Hanging from the greenish-black base of the cloud were three tornadoes. One was perilously near and apparently headed directly for my place. I lost no time hurrying with my family to our cyclone cellar.

The family had entered the cellar and I was in the doorway just about to enter and close the door when I decided I would take a last look at the approaching cloud. I have seen a number of these and did not lose my head, though the approaching tornado was an impressive sight.

The surrounding country is level and there was nothing to obscure the view. There was little or no rain falling from the cloud. Two of the tornadoes were some distance away and looked like great ropes dangling from the parent cloud, but the one nearest was shaped more like a funnel, with ragged clouds surrounding it. It appeared larger than the others and occupied the central position, with the great cloud dome directly over it.

Steadily the cloud came on, the end gradually rising above the ground. I probably stood there only a few seconds, but was so impressed with the sight it seemed like a long time. At last the great shaggy end of the funnel hung directly overhead. Everything was still. There was a strong gassy odor, and it seemed as though I could not breathe. There was a screaming hissing sound coming directly from the end of the funnel. I looked up, and to my astonishment I saw right into the heart of the tornado. There was a circular opening in the center of the funnel, about fifty to one hundred feet in diameter and extending straight upward for a distance of at least half a mile, as best I could judge under the circumstances. The walls of this opening were rotating clouds and the whole was brilliantly lighted with constant flashes of lightning, which zigzagged from side to side. Had it not been for the lightning, I could not have seen the opening or any distance into it.

Around the rim of the great vortex small tornadoes were constantly forming and breaking away. These looked like tails as they writhed their way around the funnel. It was these that made the hissing sound. I noticed the rotation of the great whirl was anticlockwise, but some of the small twisters rotated clockwise. The opening was entirely hollow, except for something I suppose was a detached wind cloud. This thing kept moving up and down. The tornado was not traveling at a great speed. I had plenty of time to get a good view of the whole thing, inside and out.

After it passed my place, it again dipped and demolished the house and barn of a neighbor. The family, like ourselves, had been out looking over their hailed out wheat and saw the tornado coming. They lay down flat on the ground and caught hold of some plum bushes just before they felt themselves lifted by the wind. He later told me he could see the wreckage of his house, including the cookstove, going round and round over his head. None of the family was hurt.

Emergency Kits for the Home and Car

A few good disaster preparedness supplies to keep in your storm shelter for the tornado season.

Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack

Here is a good emergency kit to grab and carry to your tornado shelter.


Tornado Poll

Have you ever been in a tornado like this?

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Bottled Water

Keep bottled water to prepare for tornadoes and other disasters.

Pop Tarts

Pop Tarts are one of the best foods to keep in your tornado shelter.

Underground Storm Shelter

Tornado Comments

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    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      I've never been in one like this, but have seen them forming, and had a fairly up close and personal view out my front window while living in Texas. Headed for an internal closet with the cat (this was before we had multiple kitties and the hub was at work).

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      He certainly gave a lot of detail about what he saw. Very interesting account.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      That's a thrilling account of what he saw! Such great detail. Very nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nature is the boss, tornado being one of its mighty dispositions, hurricanes, tsunami and katrina other instances on how it can play havoc. It all really teaches us to be humble.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I went through one 4 years ago. Not something you care to do a second time. I've become a weather watcher when certain conditions are forecasted. I will write my story one day.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      What a terrifying experience. So glad Will survived to tell the tale. Featured this on Floods, Drought and ClimateChange.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago


    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      I agree with Momsbusy247 Been around too many of them to enjoy them much. As a kid though I found them fascinating.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lived in the midwest most of life and have been a part of several tornado's, can't much say I like them!