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‘TORNADO EMERGENCY’ first used 22 years ago, night of ‘Haysville tornado’

Friday (May 3) marks the 20th anniversary of the tornado that forever changed the community of...
Friday (May 3) marks the 20th anniversary of the tornado that forever changed the community of Haysville in south Sedgwick County.(KWCH 12)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Twenty-two years ago Monday, May 3, large, deadly tornadoes left devastation in their paths in parts of Oklahoma and south central Kansas. A deadly tornado that threatened a large population in the Oklahoma City area brought in the use of a new term.

“The tornado was so violent that the National Weather Service in Norman (Oklahoma) knew an ordinary TORNADO WARNING was not enough to stress the urgency of the storm warning,’' KOCO Meteorologist Damon Lane said in a Facebook post. “So the meteorologist added the word EMERGENCY to the warning and this is how the TORNADO EMERGENCY was born. It’s amazing how adding 1 word can change everything.”

The May 3, 1999 Bridge Creek - Moore tornado in Oklahoma is among the strongest ever recorded. That night, at least in national headlines, it overshadowed a devastating event near Wichita.

Also on the night of May 3, 1999, an EF-4 tornado forever changed the Haysville community. On the ground for 24 miles, the tornado left a destructive path, killing six people and injuring dozens more. Even more lost their homes and businesses.

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