March 13, 1990 - Hesston Tornado tracks
100 miles from Castleton to Dwight, KS
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Foreword: Year of the Storms
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Weather for Wichita - Video
Hesston Tornado 1990
Mennonite Disaster Service
Weather of 1990
Wikipedia of 1990 Storm
Nine Years Later - Kansan
Twister 10 Years Later - Kansan
May 4, 2007 - Greensburg, KS
Year of the Storms: The Destructive Weather of Kansas 1990

Excerpt of Foreward by Howard Inglish

Kansas Tornadoes. The phrase conjures up all kinds of images, the most obvious of which I will not go into here. What I learned in the last four months -- which turned in to a crash course on tornadoes and othe rwind storms -- is that the power of a tornado is truly awesome. That message I believe come home clearly in the text and photographs which tell the stories of more than 500 Kansans interviewed for the book. Most were those whose homes and property were severely damaged or destroyed. More than four score tornadoes touched down in Kansas this year.

In traveling the state, I learned a lot about people, and to my surprise, I found out they are measurably different from those -- including me -- who lead our lives in Kansas' largest city, Wichita. The people of the Kansas prairie have a deeper, broader faith, stronger anchor, and they remember some things about friendships that the fast-paced urbanites have forgotten. The people of the plains are more resolute, determined and steady. All of these qualities served these people well as they faced the tragedy of the incredible devastation that nature wreak on our state this year.

It is hard to imagine facing the heartache that the families of Ruth and Harold Voth and Lucas Fischer endured this year. And it is to them this book is dedicated. Six-year-old Lucas died a few feet from his mothers arms in their home near Burrton, and Ruth Voth was killed near Goessel where the March 13 tornado reached it's peak intensity. Harold Voth died six months later of cancer.

Of course, the good news and the true miracle of the storms of 1990 is that more people did not die.

There were only two fatalities, and neither of those was within the city limits of Hesston where the tornado left such devastation. The people of Hesston, a strongly Mennonite community in south central Kansas just off of I-135, were wise enough to seek appropriate shelter.

I do understand the fascination many have with tornadoes. The menacing dark cloud and funnel leaves people in awe, too dumbstruck to move at times, as the twister marches across the open prairie with death and destruction draped around its jagged edges.

It was the evening of March 13 that the first few hundred of what would later grow to be thousands of volunteers converged on the town. And making up the largest portion of volunteer corps were members of the Mennonite Disaster Service. The 1990 tornadoes struck in the heart of Kansas Mennonite country, which meant that many of those on the receiving end of asssistance had in other disasters been on the scene to provide assistance as MDS volunteers.

The story we heard time and time again from storm survivors was their marvel at the dedication of the men and women of the Mennonite Disaster Service to whom this book is also dedicated. A typical response from a survivor: "People we didn't even know came from miles away, sometimes hundreds of miles away and stayed for days to help. Why do they do it?"
Howard Inglish
November 1990

Bibliography - Sources for this pagethe Storms: The Destructive Weather of Kansas 1990

Rouner, Evelyn. 1991, March 13, 1990, 5:24 p.m. Scrapbook p97, Prestige Printing

Update: December 9, 2007 15:52

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