In the late afternoon hours of September 25, 1973, a rare set of weather conditions
spawned an historical tornado outbreak across north-central Kansas.
Although millions of dollars in damage and severe flooding scarred the lives of
thousands, miraculously, only 5 lost their lives. Two small towns were nearly destroyed
as was a trailer park in Salina. Five other towns took direct hits from F-3 twisters. A girl was born in a
hospital basement as her mother took shelter. Dramatic movie films and still
photographs of tornadoes were made that day, in an era when storm chasers were
much fewer and using film cameras. I saw my first tornado then. I filmed it and
several funnels that spun over the plains. These and other recordings as well
as new interviews with witnesses will be included. Also, this was 1973 and the
turbulent issues of the time were the war in Vietnam,
the Equal Rights Amendment, the occupation of Wounded Knee
and the brewing Watergate scandal. Hindsight of these things and more will be added to
bring life to the chase. Psychologists
will discuss storm trauma and meteorologists will explain the unique aspects of
Disasters can bring out the best in people. In a way, they show
a side of us that remains more hidden in daily life. In a word: Kindness. Through
your kindness, the story of the unique people, place and time of “That
Seventies Storm” will be told. Your pledge dollars will pay for the gear,
travel and legal costs of the movie production. It is a small budget for a big
project. Anything more than this humble funding goal will only make the story
better and allow for wider distribution of the documentary. None of the money
goes to me, but into the production. In return, you may receive a wide range of
rewards: Signed movie posters, digital movie downloads, movie t-shirts, signed
movie DVD’s, credits in the finished movie, dinner with the producer, tickets to a tornado chase or even a song written and recorded just for
I’ve got to go catch a tornado or two now… You’re invited to
A tornado touches down near Salina, Kansas in this 1973 film still.
Sheet metal wrapped around a snapped power pole in Niles, Kansas in this 1973 film still.
A typical tornado-producing supercell thunderstorm over Kansas.
Double funnel clouds speed toward Salina, Kansas on April 14, 2012. A long-tracked, EF-4 tornado had just lifted here before reaching Falun, Kansas. This outbreak produced more tornadoes than in 1973 but hit fewer towns. This cell followed a path eerily similar to the '73 tornado.
This same 2012 cell produced this giant tornado which touched down near interstate 70 and caused damage near Niles, Kansas. Many drivers pulled over to watch and photograph it as it raced northeast as fast as 50 mph.