Wednesday, May 5, 2010
55 Years Ago: Blackwell, Oklahoma F-5 Tornado, May 25, 1955
My wife was seven years old and living in Blackwell, Oklahoma in 1955. When the tornado came through town she, her two year old sister, and pregnant mother were hiding under a bed in their small house a few blocks from the tornado's path. Her father, of course, was watching it go through town. I recently found these pictures from LIFE Magazine published in a May 1955 issue. I'm posting copies of the pictures for her and for her family and friends that lived through this F-5 monster storm. Better and more pictures from LIFE are available from their archives.
1955 Great Plains Tornado Outbreak
"The 1955 Great Plains tornado outbreak was a deadly tornado outbreak that struck the southern and central U.S Plain States on May 25-26, 1955. It produced at least 46 tornadoes across 7 states including 2 F5 tornadoes in Blackwell, Oklahoma and Udall, Kansas. The outbreak killed 102 from 3 tornadoes while injuring hundreds more. Unusual electromagnetic activity was observed, including St. Elmo's fire ...
The Blackwell tornado formed in Noble County at around 9:00 PM CDT before crossing through the eastern portions of the Kay County town of Blackwell as a 500-yard F5 wedge. It claimed the lives of 20 people in Blackwell and injured over 200 before crossing and dissipating into Cowley County, Kansas. In addition of destroying nearly 200 homes, the tornado also demolished the town's main employers including the Acme Foundry and the Hazel Atlas Glass plant. The local hospital also sustained major damage. Most of the western half of the town spared the worst of the damage..." ----Wikipedia