25 years since Hesston tornado

By McPherson County and Harvey County 911
March 13, 2015
Lena Good via Hesston Public Library

25 years ago today, Central Kansas was witness to the power, awe and tragedy that Mother Nature can provide. It began shortly before 5pm with notification of a tornado on the ground near Haven, moving NE.

Deputies and Fire units began tracking the storm as it moved into Harvey County, barely missing Burrton. However, just outside of Burrton a 6 year old boy died when the tornado collapsed a chimney into the basement where his family sought shelter.

The storm continued NE leveling farm homes and a convenience store and took a bead on Hesston. With plenty of warning and the path taking the storm away from the College, Nursing Home and Mobile Home park, there was no further loss of life in Harvey County.

However, when it was over, nearly 250 homes and businesses had been damaged, 90 were destroyed. 60 people were injured.

Hesston's recovery demonstrated the can-do spirit and midwestern cooperative effort. The city has bounced back stronger than ever and is a testament to their strength and faith. Today, we think back to that day and those who lost so much, and congratulate Hesston on bouncing back in such a fantastic manner.

The Hesston Public Library has put together a digital collection of pictures taken after the event. It's kind of interesting to look at. It serves as a good reminder that this kind of thing DOES happen. Preparedness is important. Knowing the safest place to go and having an emergency kit ready are two of the best things you can do for your family!

The photos are available at:


You can work on your family's tornado preparedness this coming Monday in McPherson. The 2015 Severe Weather Awareness "Storm Fury On the Plains" presentation is scheduled for Monday, March 16th at 6:30 p.m. at the McPherson Community Building at 119 West Marlin in McPherson. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Chance Hayes, warning meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wichita, will present on what to look for in severe weather season.

The National Weather Service in Wichita conducts spotter training sessions, which are normally scheduled throughout the Spring months each year. Attendees are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, the features to look for, and where to find them. What, when and how to report information as well as basic severe weather safety are also covered.

The session is a multi-media presentation, which includes detailed video. These spotter classes typically take about 1½ to 2 hours, and are open to the public. No prior experience is required, and there is no registration necessary to attend.