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Tornado April 29, 1971: Angry streak of destruction

Coverage of the tornado of April 29, 1971 from the Columbia Statesman archives; six people lost their lives and a path of destruction was left behind.
Angry streak of destruction sweeps southeastward across Adair Vounty

By Pete Walker

Out of the elements and across the countryside of Adair County an angry streak of distruction swept, leaving in its wake enormous property damage, over 30 injuries, 6 deaths, and untold misery, and grief.

Bobbing up and down like a child's rubber ball the ruinous tornado struck around 9:30 to 10pmCT, traveling in a southeastward path across the northern part of the country.

The path of destruction varied in width from 50 feet in some places to as much as 600 in others. Its only rival in destructive energy is the man-made Hell of an atomic ex- plosion.

Eyewitnesses testified to the freakishness of the storm. In parts of the county homes standing side by side would see one destroyed completely, the other untouched by the storm J.W. Vance reported that a trailer 50 feet from his back porch was completely destroyed, the family blown out of the trailer, but his own home unscathed.

The family occupying the trailer escaped serious injury.

Bill Page, Cane Valley, watched the storm from his porch as a lightning-sheeted sky lit the landscape. A deathly stillness was followed by an ominous roar as the storm struck.

The new brick home of a neighbor, Clifford Page, was totally destroyed. The Pages, who had taken refuge in the basement emerged unharmed, coated with insulating material, stunned but thankful to be alive.

This story was posted on 2022-04-29 07:52:53
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Tornado of 1971 - bark blown off tree

2022-04-29 - Adair County, KY - Photo by Pete Walker from 1971 Columbia Statesman.
D. Houchens and Carl Kerney of Glasgow, said they'd heard of "bark blown from the tree," but that this was their first time to experience it. Both men heard reports of the tornado in Barren County and came over to lend a hand to Adair residents Wednesday.

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Tornado of 1971 - where lives were lost

2022-04-29 - Adair County, KY - Photo by Pete Walker from 1971 Columbia Statesman.
1971 - site of the Dewey Smith home where three people lost their lives Tuesday night. The victims were Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Smith and visiting neighbor Mrs. Hershel Cundiff. The home sat along side peaceful Butler Branch shaded by a gentle rising hill in back. A peaceful place that looked safe from the ravages of nature.

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