Hesston Public Library

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Leo Hostetler and Mike Smith Correspondence
Collection: Documents

Title

Leo Hostetler and Mike Smith Correspondence

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Subject

Tornadoes--Hesston (Kan.)

Creator

Hostetler, Leo

Smith, Mike

Davies, Jim

Publisher

Hesston Public Library

Date

1990

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Type

Correspondence

Identifier

Leo Hostetler and Mike Smith Correspondence.pdff


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Citation
Hostetler, Leo, Smith, Mike, and Davies, Jim, “Leo Hostetler and Mike Smith Correspondence,” Hesston Public Library, accessed July 25, 2021, https://hesston.digitalsckls.info/item/474.
Text

A note from Mike Smith
Dear Nr, Hostetler:
Thank you for your letter and the map However, i think you are confusing the
DAMAGE DONE BY THE MICROBURST WITH THE DAMAGE DONE BY THE TORNADO, YES, THERE IS DAMAGE IN THE STRAIGHT LINE BUT THE MICROBURST WITH 100 MPH WINDS DID LESS DAMAGE THAN THE TORNADO WITH 200-250 MPH WINDS, IF THERE HAD NOT BEEN A MICROBURST THE DAMAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN WORSE THAN IT WAS, THIS IS NOT EVIDENT FROM THE GROUND, BUT IT IS EVIDENT FROM AN AERIAL SURVEY,
My heart goes out to all of the victims
OF THE TORNADO.
WeatherData, Inc. 825 N. Main Wichita, Kansas 67203 (316)266-9127 FAX (316)265-0371
DAVIES
HARVESTER CO., INC. dba / DAVIES
U.S. HWY 54 PRATT, KANSAS 67124
Mr. Leo Hostetler
Box 5000 Villa
Hesston, Kansas
LOCAL PHONES 316-672-6429 316-672-6420
TOLL FREE WATS KANSAS ONLY 800-362-2385 NATIONWIDE 800-835-2705
MANUFACTURERS & DISTRIBUTORS SINCE 1952
DAVIES MFG. D1V.
REGIONAL RESPIRATORY DIV. SKYLINE STORAGE DIV.
Researcher disputes twisters’ paths
Findings contradict earlier theory
"
By Ray Hemman
The Hutchinson News
Last March, Hesston escaped twin paths of tornado destruction by two minutes or less, according to research by a Pratt meteorologist who has spent the last four months studying the Hesston Outbreak.
Jon Davies, a former television meteorologist with a Wichita station and the
Weather Channel, has mapped out the paths of the tornadoes that hit in and around Hesston on March 3. His research differs from that released shortly after the outbreak by WeatherData Inc., a private
meteorological service in Wichita.
Based on his research, Davies has concluded that a second tornado touched down just northeast of Hesston instead of east of the city. The second tornado's touchdown was in an open field east northeast of the I-135 interchange in Hesston. The second tornado moved along the ground about 2 miles before converging with the first tornado, the one that had hit
Hesston moments earlier.

The convergence of the two twisters created a third, much stronger tornado, said Davies, a Pratt businessman. He is president of Regional Respiratory Services Division of Davies, a firm his family owns.
Had the second tornado dropped out of the sky a minute or two earlier, it would have blasted a path of destruction through Hesston’s north lend, roughly parallel to the strip the first twister cut through the city’s center. The Hesston Corp.
facility would have taken a direct hit from the twister.
“I have some photographs of circulation in clouds that are over north Hesston,” Davies said Friday. "What that tells me is there was a good bit of circulation in the cloud over the Hesston Corp. Some of the people on the north side of Hesston might be very fortunate that it did not touch down one to two minutes earlier.”

Both the tornadoes that ultimately converged to create the massive super tornado were calculated to be of F4 intensity.
The Hutchinson News
Saturday, July 21, 1990, Hutchinson

Tornadoes
Continued from Page 1

based on the seven-step Fujita Scale. The scale was developed by University of Chicago researcher Ted Fujita.
An F4 tornado is considered “devastating.” with wind speeds of 207 to 260 mph. When the two twisters converged to create one tornado, the result was an F5, with winds of 261 to 318 mph that were capable of “incredible” damage, including structural damage to steel reinforced concrete buildings.
After extensive interviews with eyewitnesses and searching
through the dozens of photographs
and videotapes of the twisters, Davies has concluded that the tor-
nado was an F5 for only a short
period of time — roughly 3 miles — from a point 1 1/2 miles south of Goessel to a point lVt miles east of
Goessel.
East of Goessel, the twister’s strength dissipated, and it was only in the F1, to F2 category by the time it lifted near Marion Lake. An
F1 tornado has winds of 73 to 112

A fourth tornado was spawned by the storm northeast of Marion Lake, and it lifted near Alta Vista in northeast Kansas. The storm originated near Pretty Prairie.
Davies said he met with an assistant to Fujita earlier this week. The assistant told Davies that the tornado expert thought the Kansan’s mapping of the tornadoes was basically correct and Fujita and his assistants would update their work based on those maps.
When contacted Friday, Mike Smith, president of WeatherData Inc., said he had not seen Davies’ maps but that he stood by his company's work. That work was based on an aerial survey, photographs and interviews and was released in April.
Smith’s findings showed a second tornado touching down east of Hesston, based on striations in the ground found in a field. Smith’s findings also suggested that the paths of the two tornadoes crossed,

a theory that Davies’ findings contradict.
But Davies said videotapes from Hesston residents Nelson Dreier and Bobbie Harries showed the two separate twisters coming together to make one large twister. A check of evidence on the ground confirms what the eye sees in the videos, he added.
Davies also doubted a claim made by WeatherData officials that a microburst saved Hesston College from significant damage. A micro-burst is a strong down rush of wind out of a storm. WeatherData officials maintain That a microburst southwest of Hesston diverted the storm far enough north that it did not hit Hesston College. A videotape from Hesston resident Bill Hugie whose house was_ destroyed in the storm showed the storm consistently moving toward his location on a path about 500 yards northwest of Hesston College. Davies said. The microburst did move the twister and. probably spared several houses from destruction northwest of the school. Davies research was applauded Friday by an official with the National Severe Storms Forecasting Center in Kansas City, Mo.
“Jon is a meteorologist, but does not work at it full time," said Ed Ferguson, deputy director for the center. “He did a very careful job of it. ... It is like being a detective. You try to piece together all the tiny bits of information after the fact.”