Just past suppertime, at about 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 24, 2003, the sky virtually fell on Manchester. A devastating F-4 category tornado with winds of more than 200 miles an hour came thundering in from the south. It hovered over the town, destroying the artifacts of Manchester's 122-year history, then thundered north toward the township line, obliterating two farmsteads that stood in its path. Buildings, clothing, family photos, furniture, appliances, trees-nearly everything was mangled, shredded, and vacuumed into the sky, often dropped miles way. Some of the town's six remaining residents were seriously injured. Friends and neighbors did whatever they could to help. Nothing would ever be quite the same, but most every one agreed on one thing- this massive storm could destroy our buildings, but it could not take away the Spirit of Manchester.
The National Geographic Society, which devoted a cover story, a television special, and an exhibit at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.., to the Manchester Tornado, observe that, as the center of the tornado approached, air pressure dropped 100 millibars in twelve seconds. "That's the biggest drop ever recorded," said tornado researcher Tim Samaras, "like stepping into an elevator and hurling up 4,000 feet in ten seconds."