Codell, KS Tornado, May 1918


Tornado Sweeps Through Two Counties in Kansas, Leaving Path of Wreck and Ruin.

HAYS, Kan. (AP)---Ten persons were killed, two probably fatally injured and dozens of others less seriously injured, in a tornado which swept across northern Ellis and southern Rooks counties Monday night. The little town of Codell, in Rooks county, was practically wiped out. All the churches, school buildings and larger business houses and residences were demolished.

The tornado started 15 miles northwest of Hays and swept a strip a mile wide for a distance of 35 miles. Only meager reports have been received and the death list many be augmented when full details are learned.

The list of dead and fatally injured as far as is known follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Geist and three children, living near Hays.

Mrs. Walter Adams and baby of Codell.

Two children of Frank Jones of Codell.

Mr. ______ Turan of Codell.

Injured, probably fatally:

Anton Bungardle of Hays.

Frank G. Huber.

Hundreds of heads of horses and cattle were killed and much damage was caused to growing crops by hail. Scores of farm houses and barns were demolished, in some instances every vestige of the buildings being swept away.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 22 May 1918

[note: Tornadoes hit Codell, KS on the same day - May 20 of 1916 and 1917]


Codell Tornadoes

The little village of Codell went through an experience, the effects of which rated sufficiently to make Ripley's Believe It or Not. It had a tornado three times in successive years-1916, 1917, and 1918 on the 20th day of May. The first year the twister passed at the west edge of town in the late afternoon. The second year it passed very close to the east edge of town in mid-afternoon. The third year, it came after dark wiping out a large part of town.

The 1918 tornado was a hard blow to the town, the effects of which it has never fully recovered. In spite of that and other deterrent influences, Codell remains a peaceful, friendly little village.