Tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of the Andover Tornado. We stand with Andover as we remember the devastating loss to our community. As we reflect, we will also celebrate first responders and friends who came together as volunteers and neighbors to rebuild Andover into the community we know today.
On Tuesday, Butler County Management and the City of Andover will host a special event at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church for our community to gather and remember April 26, 1991.
The event, “April 26: Remembrance, Recovery, and Resilience: A Commemoration of the Andover Tornado,” runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors may view memorabilia, watch a special video production, and view artifacts from the tornado. The event is free to the public.
A formal presentation will begin just before 6 p.m., and it will last until approximately 7:15 p.m. Notable attendees include Mike Smith, who covered the tornado for KSN; Jim Schmidt, director of Butler County Management, who was a first responder on April 26; Dan Dillon and John Wright, who covered the tornado for KFDI; and Chance Hays, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The Andover Tornado was part of one of the largest tornado outbreaks since the Weather Service began tracking them in 1950. The weather event produced more than 50 tornadoes, with touchdowns in six states. More than 30 tornadoes struck the Kansas and Oklahoma region alone. Classified as an F5 on the Fujita scale, the Andover Tornado expanded to more than 600 yards wide and cut a 50-mile swath through the area. A tornado of that magnitude would not strike Kansas again until May 4, 2007, in Greensburg, Kansas.