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Postcards: Orrick’s 2014 twister, though less severe than 1967’s, brings back memories

By Linda Emley

On Wednesday afternoon Jan. 25, 1967 a snow storm hit Ray County and The Richmond News covered the story the next day.
“Snowstorm Hits After Rain, Lighting, Sleet. A severe winter storm hit this area late Wednesday afternoon, changing the warm spring like the weather of Tuesday, which spawned a tornado causing a great deal of damage, back to the winter weather expected this time of year. Old-timers report they don’t remember ever having seen the heavy rain, snow, sleet, thunder and lighting, all at the same time, we had during the night Tuesday. Rainfall estimated to be 1 to 2 inches, preceded the snow, which measured a good 8 inches here. Additional snow, measured up to 4 inches, is forecast for  today, with strong northeasterly winds.”
Jan. 27, The front page of The Richmond News had a story about the Meadow Lane residents who were snowed in. “As bad as the North Pole. People living in the Meadow Lane subdivision, which lies about half a

An aerial photo of Orrick school after a rare January tornado struck in 1967. (Kansas City Star photo)

An aerial photo of Orrick school after a rare January tornado struck in 1967. (Kansas City Star photo)

mile outside the south city limits of Richmond, are complaining today that snow removal services could not be worse at the North Pole. The News has received a series of telephone calls from residents of the approximately 30 houses in the subdivision. One caller pointed out that there was a sick child in the neighborhood, a 4-day-old baby and that Dr. Frank Crozier, a neighbor who lives just north of the subdivision, had to use a tractor to get to his office.”
School snow days were handled a bit differently in 1967. This was in The Richmond News  Jan. 31, 1967. “What’s going on Here? School on Saturday. For the Richmond school kids, 1967 is going to be a memorable year. In fact, by next Monday it will be memorable because there will have been school on Saturday. Saturday? Yes Saturday, Feb. 4. Allen Henningsen, superintendent of schools, announced today that because of the two days already lost, Thursday and Friday because of bad weather, one of those days will be made up Saturday. Mr. Henningsen said that Missouri schools are required to operate a minimum of 180 days a year and if the requirement is not observed, the school risks losing its state aid. The Saturday scholars are still getting a break though, because buses will leave from elementary and high schools at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon, which is about an hour early for the elementary classes and two hours ahead of normal high school bus timetables. Mr. Henningsen said today it was possible that school would remain in session here on Good Friday, which is now a holiday. The superintendent said he would ask the Richmond School Board to make the decision on when the second make-up day will be held. Other alternatives are attending school another Saturday or extending the school year in May.”
The day before this big snowstorm, a tornado hit the Orrick school and killed 15-year-old Danny Blyth and 18-year-old Danny Barber.
This is how The Kansas City Times reported Orrick’s twister Jan.  25, 1967: “Hit by a tornado that rolled across the Missouri River bottom lands at 12:52 o’clock, the high school building at Orrick, Mo., suffered extensive damage. A vocational building was demolished by the force of the winds. About 50 girls were in physical education class in the gymnasium but scrambled to safety before the roof collapsed. Student and faculty motor cars, parked in front of the school, were damaged extensively. The elementary school was only a few feet from the other school but only one of the 300 children in the building was injured.” (Kansas City Star aerial photograph by Sol Studna)
Coming next is the rest of the story about the tornado that hit Orrick in 1967.

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