Here is a description of that day from my yet-uncompleted book on Kansas City MetroRegion Tornadoes Since 1950...
"Weather conditions more like April than January that day contributed to a noteworthy tornado outbreak over the Central U.S. and western Great Lakes states.
Two of the tornadoes during the outbreak reached F-4 intensity that January Tuesday.
Four of those twisters ... in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois ... were killers.
The first killer tornado of the outbreak touched down in the noon hour about 20 miles east of Downtown KC,MO ... in Jackson County ... moving northeast into southwestern Ray County MO, striking the high school in Orrick,MO..
The thunderstorm that would spawn the tornado formed about 30 miles southwest of Kansas City just before the noon hour.
Around 12:25 p.m., straight-line winds estimated near 60 m.p.h. caused damage to the-then under contruction Metcalf South shopping center at 95th Street and Metcalf in Overland Park,KS.
The storm moved through southern Prairie Village, northern Leawood,KS, the across the Missouri state line into southwestern Kansas City near 83rd Street and State Line.
At Southeast High school across from Swope Park, winds estimated at 50 m.p.h. chased a boy's gym class from outdoor fields.
There were scattered reports of damage to trees and power lines there, and at least one unconfirmed report of a funnel cloud near the Lake City munitions plant at Missouri Highways 7 and 78.
At 12:40 p.m., the funnel dropped to the ground about 3 miles southwest of Buckner (present-day eastern Independence ).
The tornado spared a direct hit on Buckner , damaging outbuildings and barns in the nearby rural hills.
The funnel then moved into the Missouri River plain, just missing the small community of Sibley.
As the tornado moved across the river into southwestern RAY County, the vortex reached it's maximum F-3 strength with the town of Orrick just a few miles ahead in it's path.
The greater than Category 5 hurricane force winds lifted, then collapsed the roof of the gym as well as the upper walls of the building.
This caused another part of the school's roof to collapse over the classroom area.
He was 15-year-old Danny Blythe, who died in the Richmond MO hospital.
At least three other homes were either damaged or destroyed in town where the remainder of the 18 total injuries in the town were reported.
Dozens of police, fire units and ambulances responded from a three-county area to assist in rescue, treatment and transport off the injured in Orrick that day.
The tornado continued on for about another 20 minutes, taking out more barns and outbuildings until it lifted 4 miles west-northwest of Richmond in central Ray County."
The Orrick Tornado, rare as it was on a day in January, was not the deadliest.
The F-4 tornado cut a 21-mile long path through the western and northern suburbs of St. Louis, killing three and injuring more than 200 people.
The tornado just missed a direct hit of St. Louis's Lambert airport.