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Sedalia Remembers The Tornado Of 1977 : Your Stories

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I asked you guys the other day what you remembered about the tornado that hit our area on May 4, 1977.  It took a few days, but there have been a lot of very interesting, very scary stories that came straight from you.It’s timely to talk about it now, because in a couple of weeks it will be the 40th anniversary of this event. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again. Here are your stories.

Wes Yates:  I was taking my First Class Radio Engineering License Test at the FCC in Kansas City to enable me to legally work on the Radio Transmitters at KSIS/KCBW. Came back to town and was up for 48 straight hours.

Teresa Ann Paxton: I remember that day. I was still  upstairs at Mark Twain school  and sirens went off and made it to the basement. It was very very scary day, still can’t stand tornado sirens to this day without feeling like jello on the inside.

Sandra Anderson: I lived on the fairgrounds across the street from what is now Dollar General and was at home. I took shelter with my step dad in the culvert that runs under the cinder track at the end of our driveway. We stood there watching it with wood and debris flying in it, with the loud roar, me thinking it was in Green Ridge. It was actually coming onto the fairgrounds. I watched the Jockey Club blow away. When it was gone there were papers, lawn furniture, lumber, shingles, you name it all plastered on the fences. Our house was pushed several inches off the foundation .

Tracy Garrison: I was in the basement of Horace Mann school. I could hear windows breaking and the kids screaming on the first floor. We had to finish the school year at Calvary Baptist Church because of the damage from the tornado. It’s something I will not forget.

Tim Carr: I was in the art room in the basement of Whittier Elementary School. Nothing happened to our end of town. I remember driving around with mom and seeing all the insulation from houses and buildings in trees. I want to say the National Guard was helping protect houses from a new term I learned … looting.

Paula Adkins: We were seniors. I had just gotten home and it got real dark and quiet, then the sound and it tore the town up. Remember the country club still had the mirror and chandelier hanging with half of the building gone. They almost cancelled the graduation. I’ll never forget that day.

Debbie Davis Fowler: I was a senior in at Smith Cotton. Thought maybe I might die before I graduated. My grandparent’s house lifted from the foundation with them in the basement. My grandma’s car was found six blocks away.

Charlie Booth: I was on work release from Smith Cotton at Hinken’s 66 Broadway and State Fair Blvd. No warning, sky green…..power off….water running uphill on Broadway……then cars driving by with insulation stuck to them.

Michelle Carroll: My fiance told me he was in first grade when it happened, and he was under his desk because they didn’t have time to go to the basement. He said it was scary.

Kitti Homan: I was a Senior in high school. Sitting in a cross hall on the 3rd floor with a college prep class and teacher Jean Routzong (who was calm as always and later found out her house was hit).

Janet Clark: I lost my home in Country Club addition. Four homes completely destroyed.

Melinda Strange: I was in Mark Twain in north hallway, 1st floor with the doors banging and the trash cans flying.

Bruce Hatcher: My wife and I were living in Warrensburg at the time, and I was driving through Sedalia when it hit.

David Hieronymus: I was at Larry’s pack gas station when the radio said that the Sedalia Country Club was being hit. Next door was O’Connors car lot, and we could see all these men standing against the giant glass windows. Not a good idea cause they were flexing from the wind. Luckily the tornado was moving northeast. Southwest Village was also devastated.

Cindy Cover: I was a senior. I remember driving home and being amazed at all the damage.

Amy Knox Consolver: I was in 3rd grade at Whittier School. I remember the sky turning green.

Dianne Behen Withers: I was in a basement classroom at Sacred Heart School, Sedalia, MO. I was in second grade and scared to death! I remember being yelled at by Mrs. Rabourn because I was trying to catch a peek.

Lisa Mcfarland Monteer: I was in Mark Twain and had to walk home. The trees covered the driveways on Grand.

Cindy George: I was in the classroom in the southwest corner (edit: In the Sacred Heart School), and they had almost the whole school in there! I kept sitting up trying to see what was happening, and the teachers kept telling me to get my head down.

Debbie Petree-Mickan: I was in the living room with Carissa Talmage, who wasn’t even 1 yet. Our house was the one by the sale barn on South 65. It got really dark, and then we heard the train sound. It took off part of our roof! God was watching over us. Shortly after my dad Herbert (Hub) Petree came by and picked us up and we went driving, looking at all the damage. My dad was a contractor and he was thinking of how much work he was going to have.

Julie Schwering: I was standing in the middle of the street, watching it with my future brother in law! We watched the whole thing! We were South of it in Sedalia. One of the most powerful storms I’ve watched!

Doris Mergen: Totaled my in laws farm, house, barns, everything!

Mary M Menefee-Jones: Southwest village was heavily damaged.

Randy Robertson: I was in the Marine Corps, at boot camp.

Craig Guffin: It was very windy!!!

Lisa Swords: I was working downtown, in the upper floor of old JC Penney.

Darla Hogg: I lived in Pleasant Hill. Took out the high school.

Reading these, the thing that surprises me the most is how much you guys were either out in it or trying to watch it! Maybe it’s because I was raised AFTER this, that my age group were told to NEVER watch the storm. Maybe we learned that lesson from the adults who went through this. I don’t know, honestly. But I am glad to hear about it from you guys, and I hope that we never, ever have another one.  Thank you for all your memories!

Tornadoily yours,
Behka

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