Topeka Remembers 1966 Tornado That Killed 16

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Forty-six years ago, a tornado tore through downtown Topeka, leaving 16 people dead and more than $100 million in damage.

The tornado hit Topeka at 6:55 p.m. on June 8, 1966, and stayed on the ground for 39 minutes. It followed a 22-mile path through the heart of the city.

The damage total today would be around $716 million.

Despite the destruction and deaths, many Topekans believe more people would have been killed if residents had not sought cover.

Bill Kurtis, a newsman at WIBW-TV at the time, is credited with saving lives. His urgent warning "For God's sake, take cover" is part of the city's lore.

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