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Excerpt from "Diary of a Disaster"

Home Photos from Rick Etem

By Walt Bodine (edited by Hayley Salvo)


Kansas City, MO – Radio veteran and KCUR talk show host Walt Bodine worked for WDAF in Kansas City, Missouri from 1947 - 1965. Bodine covered a number of stories, including the Ruskin Heights Tornado. In this edited excerpt from "Diary of a Disaster," a radio documentary on the Ruskin Heights Tornado of 1957, we'll hear the weather bureau bulletin from the night of the tornado and stories from survivors. (courtesy of Walt Bodine and the Marr Sound Archives)

NARRATION (by Walt Bodine):

7:23 PM. At 7:23 that night, radio listeners in Kansas City heard alarming news.

Weather report: Bulletin from the weather bureau. Radar at the airport shows an echo which appears to be very severe, just 3 or 4 miles southeast of Olathe, Kansas moving northeastward. We have just this moment received a report of a tornado moving rapidly eastward at this exact spot (tornado sirens).

Woman: I was standing in the doorway and I'd heard the tornado warnings. And I saw the big, black cloud and the man across the street ran over and got me. And just as we were going into the basement, we saw the big black cloud. It looked like black foam. And just as we were going into the basement, it blew out all the windows and blew the house completely away.

Man: The people were wonderful. I think that one of the things we got from this...it brought the neighborhood much closer together (music up and fades out).

For more on the life and career of Walt Bodine, check here.

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