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A tornado swept for 20 miles across Shelby County killing 3 people and derailing a train. Three more were killed in northern Delaware County.

Remembering 1965 Palm Sunday tornado

Some people trapped in wreckage or blown from their homes into fields were not found for hours. Electric and telephone failures hampered communication Sunday night and Monday, and debris on roads slowed the rescue effort. Toggle navigation. Jump to: navigation , search. Schmidlin, Thomas W. Source: The Elkhart Truth.

Damage at the Sunnyside Subdivision from the second of the Dunlap tornadoes. F4 damage in Greentown, Indiana. At one point during the height of the outbreak, bewildered by the amount of tornado reports coming into the office, the National Weather Service office — then the U.

Weather Bureau — responsible for Northern Indiana placed all nine counties under its jurisdiction under tornado warnings. The tornado forecasts were exceedingly well placed for the time, as nearly all of the major tornado reports in the Great Lakes region fell within the borders of at least one of them. People simply had no idea the storms were occurring, as they were either preoccupied, unable to receive warnings or both.

President Lyndon B. Johnson touring the destruction in Elkhart County, Indiana. In addition, extensive analysis of the outbreak was done by Dr. Ted Fujita, leading to the discovery of features such as suction vortices within tornadoes, which can locally amplify damage significantly. It includes photos of the helical patterns within the tornado damage paths that lead to the suction vortex conclusion.

So, as we look back half a century at one of the most notorious tornado events in the United States, it remains to be seen what will happen when something like this occurs once again in the Great Lakes region, as advances in technology are challenged by population growth and urban sprawl. Large death tolls are not unavoidable in this day and age, but hopefully they will not rear their ugly heads like they did on Palm Sunday anytime soon.

They seem to be one level lower than their actual value. For example, the long-track tornado through Green, Dane, and Jefferson Counties was an F2, and the F2 shown crossing interstate highway 94 was actually an F3 near F4.


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My sister and her future husband survived the F3 tornado in a car on I They were unable to open the doors so they huddled on the floor of the car as the windows shattered. The tornado killed 3…all in vehicles.

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It was the only killer tornado in WI that day. I just checked it against SPC data and theirs matches up. There seem to be too many F1s and few to no F0s. These events are listed by SPC data as F1 tornados. Today, local NWS offices do extensive surveys, and appear to be complete and assign, as accurately as possible, EF ratings.

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Palm Sunday Tornado – Crystal Lake Historical Society

I tend to take them as gospel, or as close as gospel as one can get. However, the further back in time, the more and more inaccurate the reports seem to become. The SPC database is more convenient simply because it exists as a database and can be mapped, sorted, analyzed, etc.

In any event, there really is no perfect solution.


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Thanks for the response. I do wish I knew what the sources are for some of the early storms. Thanks for letting me know how storms arrived at their Fujita rating pre Over 75 in the town were severely injured. While it was not the most deadly tornado to rage that day nor was Illinois the most ravaged state, it was the one that most affected me. I was out on the driveway playing basketball about the time these storms hit, but, though I recall some gusty winds at my home in Palatine, south of the storm track, I do not recall the weather there looking at all threatening.

We found out that evening about the Crystal Lake tornado and that my relatives were safe. I did not get to visit the site until the following Friday due to exams at school. By the time I visited the site, some of the worst debris had been moved and some removed to allow the streets to be passable.

I helped a bit to find any personal effects that were salvageable, but glass was embedded in most items, rendering them junk. Oh yes, I said the storm had a personal impact Our families had not been in contact for some time, and I had not seen my cousin Peggy, a year younger than I, for four years or so, nor her younger brother Randy who was about eight. The tornado brought our families together again. In November that year when I was home from university Michigan for Thanksgiving, my mother had tickets to a school musical.

I could not find a date at such short notice, and asked my cousin, who was coming with me, if she knew anyone. Four years later, that date would become my fwife, Jan. But this is but one of many stories from this tornado outbreak, and as Paul Harvey used to say After a cold and stormy March around the Midwest and Great Lakes Basin, residents looked to early April for a warming trend. The Palm Sunday weekend had begun rather chilly as a large cold air mass slipped across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, but warm, moist tropical air moving into the region drove up temperatures as Sunday dawned.

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The 1 am EST weather map showed a weak low-pressure cell over western Iowa with a warm front extending across Iowa, northern Illinois and Indiana and a cold front poised southward over eastern Kansas. Twelve hours later, the low slipped eastward to central Iowa and began to deepen. The most striking feature of the synoptic situation as analyzed by Fujita, et al , Monthly Weather Review is the contrasts among the air masses.

Pushing out the cold air from a departing anticyclone was a warm, moist tongue of Gulf air maritime tropical mT. This air met moist, colder air maritime polar mP at the warm front. The warm air was being pushed at the cold front by a wedge of dry cold air continental polar cP across the Southern Plains. The temperature drop at the cold front was small compared to the drop in the dew point temperature.

The volatile weather system began spawning thunderstorms across Iowa and western Illinois as the noon hour approached. Further organization of the low pressure system and its movement rapidly northeast along with other indicator factors gave SELS forecasters concern that the danger zone was likely to be further north and northeast than first anticipated. A new Severe Weather Forecast , calling for severe thunderstorms, high winds, damaging hail and possible tornadoes are likely, was issued at 1 pm CST.


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Note that in the s, these forecasts were issued to the local Weather Bureau offices who then warned the public of any dangers. Also, this was the highest severity level forecast that could be issued by SELS. A tornado warning could not be issued until a tornado had been positively identified by either human sighting or a fairly positive identification by radar which at the time were not as accurate as today's weather radars. A third would appear at Marquoketa, Iowa 45 minutes later. Tom Grazulis Significant Tornadoes would later report that the Lowden tornado, an F4, moved from outside Tipton to near Springbrook, striking 25 farms and destroying one completely.

A Lowden man injured by the twister died a month later. Between 1 and 4 pm, the Dubuque, Iowa Weather Office issued warning statements to residents of northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, the first at pm. The Peoria, IL office issued a tornado warning for areas north of the city at pm. The second significant tornado in the emerging outbreak hit north northeast of Stockton IL at 2 pm and moved across the Wisconsin border and through Monroe WI.