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In the basement, without their Rock

The Wizard of Oz” made Kansas synonymous with tornadoes. But it took the Topeka tornado of June 1966 to bring this Hollywood fiction to reality. That twister was, at the time, said to be the most costly tornado in our country’s history.

Even though I grew up three hours west of Topeka in Great Bend, that event had a dramatic effect on my life, particularly during the tornado season. Tornado drills, which were infrequent rituals, became mandatory in schools and brought a new set of do’s and don’ts to those of us in the hinterlands. One of ...


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