10 of the Worst Tornadoes in United States History

National Weather Service / U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

4. Topeka, Kansas, on June 8, 1966

Around 7 p.m., the tornado formed west of Auburn, Kansas, which is part of the Topeka metropolitan area. Once it reached Topeka, the tornado cut a path that was, at times, a half-mile wide across the city’s center. After leaving the downtown area, the storm weakened and eventually dissipated just east of Philip Billard Municipal Airport.

The arrival of the storm contradicted a Native American legend, which foretold that the city would be protected by Burnett’s Mound — the highest point around Topeka, which was also a sacred Native American burial ground. Five years prior to the tornado, a water tank had been built on top of the mound, and some believed the tornado was a form of retribution.

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