60Th Anniversary: Deadly tornado of '59 and the technology advan - KMOV.com

60Th Anniversary: Deadly tornado of '59 and the technology advances since

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The summer of 1954, when channel 4 signed on, was one of the hottest in the St. Louis history. 

It was also about the same time meteorologist’s started using the technology and drills from World War II to detect severe weather. They no longer had to rely on kites in the sky.  
 
 
So in 1959, when a wispy shape appeared on the radars at the weather bureau at Lambert Airport, the forecasters considered issuing a tornado warning.  But, their radars were young and not as reliable as the radars we use today. 
 
The forecasters decided since tornadoes were not common in February, a tornado was unlikely.   
 
St. Louisans went to bed to rain and woke up to what would be the third most deadly tornado in Saint Louis history.  
 
The sudden onset, and the fact that it hit at 2:00 a.m. led to 21 deaths and 345 injuries.

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