1975 Omaha tornado outbreak

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Coordinates: 41°15′N 96°00′W / 41.25°N 96°W / 41.25; -96

1975 Omaha tornado
Date(s) May 6–7, 1975
Duration ~2½ days
Tornadoes caused 36
Maximum rated tornado F4 (Fujita scale)
Damages unknown
Casualties 3

The 1975 Omaha tornado was a violent tornado that hit the Omaha, Nebraska metropolitan area. It was part of a two-day outbreak that struck the Midwest and Southern United States on May 6–7, 1975, ending in the very early hours of May 8 across Louisiana. South Dakota, Iowa, Texas and Mississippi were also struck by several tornadoes. In total, 36 tornadoes touched down across 6 states. The outbreak killed three people, while injuring hundreds more.

Omaha Tornado event[edit]

During the early afternoon of May 6, 1975, a tornado watch was issued for much of eastern Nebraska. Initial tornado activity started in northeast Nebraska throughout the first half of the afternoon. At around 4:15 PM, a tornado warning was issued for the Omaha area and an F4 tornado[1] touched down about 15 minutes later in Sarpy County, Nebraska. The storm then moved north-east, cutting into Douglas County crossing Interstate 80 (injuring several motorists) and through west-central sections of the city of Omaha. The tornado chopped a path across 10 miles (16 km) of streets and residences, crossing the city's busiest intersection at 72nd & Dodge. Extensive damage occurred along 72nd street, with numerous homes and apartments severely damaged, along with Creighton Prep School and the United Methodist Church. The Westgate subdivision was devastated, with many homes leveled, and a few that were swept away. The nearby Westgate Elementary School was destroyed. Bergan Mercy Hospital, Lewis and Clark high school, a motel, and several industrial buildings were severely damaged as well. The tornado later lifted in the Benson Park area at 4:58.[2]

In one remarkable instance, First United Methodist Church minister of music Mel Olson spotted the rolling clouds in the sky outside the windows of the room where he was rehearsing a children's choir. He led them to safety below the church building. The building, located at 70th and Cass Streets, was struck and heavily damaged by the twister. The room where the children had been practicing, with three walls of windows, was hit and the glass exploded.

Three people were killed and 133 reported injured. One of the fatalities was thrown several feet by the tornado from her home to a backyard four or five houses away.[3] Debris was found miles away. Over 4,000 buildings were damaged and 287 were destroyed. In terms of damage, it was the costliest tornado in American history to that date, with insurance costs estimated at up to $1.1 billion (in 1975). It was the third costliest tornado, behind the Oklahoma City area F5 tornado on May 3, 1999 and the Wichita Falls, Texas tornadoes on April 10, 1979.

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
F0
Confirmed
F1
Confirmed
F2
Confirmed
F3
Confirmed
F4
Confirmed
F5
36 11 6 14 3 2 0

May 6 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
South Dakota
F0 SW of Kimball Brule 1705 12.4 miles
(19.8 km)
Barns and farm structures were destroyed on four separate farms. 5 cattle were killed.
F1 SW of Tabor Bon Homme 1946 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Two barns were destroyed and a farmhouse was partially unroofed.
F0 SW of Tripp Bon Homme 2010 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Nebraska
F4 N of Pierce Pierce 1905 4.1 miles
(6.6 km)
Tornado struck the town of Magnet, damaging or destroying every building in town. Homes were leveled, cattle were killed, and vehicles were thrown over 200 yards and destroyed. Remarkably, only one person was injured.
F3 E of Pierce to W of Menominee Pierce, Cedar, Knox 1915 44.8 miles
(71.7 km)
Tornado destroyed barns and trailers and killed livestock. Homes and vehicles were damaged on the west side of Pierce.
F0 SW of Bloomfield Knox 1930 5.4 miles
(8.6 km)
F3 N of Stanton Stanton, Wayne 1945 15.9 miles
(25.4 km)
F0 SE of Colon Saunders 2100 3.4 miles
(5.4 km)
F0 S of Waterbury Dixon 2130 3 miles
(4.8 km)
F4 Omaha area Sarpy, Douglas 2133 8 miles
(12.8 km)
3 deaths - See section above
Iowa
F2 NE of Crescent Pottawattamie, Harrison 2200 12.8 miles
(20.5 km)
F2 W of Beebeetown Pottawattamie, Harrison 2220 10.6 miles
(17 km)
Source:

Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 6, 1975, Grazulis (1975)

May 7 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Mississippi
F3 W of New Hope Lowndes 1145 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
Trees down and light house damage.
F0 Biloxi area Harrison 1710 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
Sign twisted.
F2 NE of Smyrna Copiah 1750 9.7 miles
(15.5 km)
F1 S of Eaton Forrest, Jones 1930 5.4 miles
(8.6 km)
Struck the town of Providence, where two homes were unroofed, and another was badly damaged. Many trees were downed, some of which landed on houses and roads. Two chicken houses were destroyed as well.
South Dakota
F0 N of Manchester to SE of Caprey Kingsbury 1655 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F1 E of Wendte Stanley 1800 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F0 W of Onida Sully 1955 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F0 SW of Onida Sully 2130 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F0 N of Mission Ridge Sully 2220 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Texas
F2 NE of Kingsland Travis 2200 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F1 N of Leander Williamson 2300 1 miles
(1.6 km)
F2 NW of Nolanville Bell 2300 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Iowa
F2 SE of Manteno Crawford 2330 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F2 NW of Jacksonville Shelby 0000 9.9 miles
(15.8 km)
F0 Creston area Union 0015 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F2 SW of Van Wert Decatur 0100 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
A barn and two hog houses were destroyed.
F2 Osceola area Clarke 0130 10 miles
(16 km)
6 farms were damaged in the area, where barns and sheds were destroyed. The roof and doors were ripped from one house.
Louisiana
F2 W of Clare Sabine 0400 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F2 Welsh area Jefferson Parish 0605 1 miles
(1.6 km)
4 trailers and 6 homes were destroyed. One trailer was found deposited in a treetop. Many trees were snapped and uprooted and 3 people were injured.
F1 Mansfield area De Soto 0615 0.7 miles
(1.1 km)
F2 SW of Estherwood Acadia 0700 0.5 miles
(0.8 km)
F1 S of Duson Lafayette 0730 0.5 miles
(0.8 km)
F2 Baton Rouge East Baton Rouge 0730 6.2 miles
(9.9 km)
F2 NW of Jack St. Helena 0800 (05/08) 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Source:

Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 7, 1975, Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 8, 1975, Grazulis (1975),

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]