fifty five years ago today!

It was a terrible Tuesday! On the 5th May 1964, a historic, destructive and deadly Tornado event affected a number of counties within central and eastern Nebraska.

Two particularly damaging/significant Tornadoes touched down, one was rated an F5/EF-5 and the other F4.

Article clipping credit: NWS

It’s suffice to say, the above mentioned F5/EF-5 Tornado travelled nearly seventy miles from eastern Adams County to northwestern Butler County is the last F5/EF-5 Tornado recorded in Nebraska. With that being said, let’s get into an overview of the Tornado event.

For some residents in central/eastern Nebraska, 5th May 1964, started out like any other day. However, by sunset, it would be a day of total destruction. During the afternoon, severed thunderstorms developed and quickly pushed northeast.

Article clipping credit: NWS

One of these storms produced an F4/EF-4 Tornado touched down initially in southeastern Greeley County and destroyed much of Wolbach and caused several injuries – thankfully and fortunately no one died. 

It’s safe to say, the biggest and most destructive Tornado was yet to come. By 5:00pm, a Tornado touched down just southeast of Hastings and developed into an F5/EF-5. Two people were killed by this Tornado a farm three miles northwest of Bradshaw…

Article clipping credit: NWS

…There were also numerous injuries, including fifteen people near Shelby.

Fortunately, several towns along the way which were spared a direct hit, including Hampton, Bradshaw, Benedict, Stromsburg and Shelby. Suffice to say there was complete destruction of all farmsteads in the direct path.

It was a significant and powerful Tornado that completely destroyed at least a dozen of these farms within the first thirty miles of its track. The Tornado width was one quarter of a mile wide, sometimes two – three separate damaging funnels extended from the same cloud.

Article clipping credit: NWS – find more clippings here.

Hail preceded, accompanied and followed the Tornado touching down. The Tornado lifted near Bellwood in Butler County, the Tornado briefly touched the ground a few times in the next forty miles.

Find a poster about the Tornado, produced by the National Weather Service (NWS)  in the link below.

One thought on “Terrible Tuesday: 5th May 1964 central/eastern Nebraska F5 & F4 Tornado

  1. Awesome read! We should never forget the past destruction of any tornado. That allows us to study them and prepare for events like that in order to save more lives..

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