Lubbock Tornado: “Twister” ~ 1970 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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Lubbock Tornado: "Twister" ~ 1970 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)



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On Monday, May 11, 1970, Lubbock, Texas, was struck by one of the worst tornadoes in history…

Originally a public domain film, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Wikipedia license:

The Lubbock tornado was a tornado event that occurred in Lubbock, Texas, on Monday, May 11, 1970. It was one of the worst tornadoes in Texas history, and occurred exactly 17 years to the day after the deadly Waco Tornado. It is also the most recent F5 tornado to have struck a central business district of a large city…

At 8:10 pm, an off-duty Lubbock police officer spotted a funnel cloud on the east side of the city, and grapefruit-size hail was reported. At 8:15, local radar indicated a hook echo and a tornado warning was issued for Lubbock and Crosby counties, and the first tornado to strike the city touched down seven miles south of Lubbock Municipal Airport, near the intersection of Quirt Avenue and Broadway. Since it was in a relatively sparsely populated area of the city, this first tornado caused little significant damage; however, reports of damaging hail continued to come in from around the city. At 9:15, tornado sirens in Idalou were sounded, and by 9:30 baseball-sized hail was falling in the northeastern sector of Lubbock.

At about 9:35 pm, a second and much more significant tornado touched down near the campus of Texas Tech University, snapping light poles at Jones Stadium, home of the Red Raider football team, then began to track northeast, carving a path of destruction that at its peak reached almost two miles in width right through the heart of the city. The devastating twister tore through several densely populated residential areas before slicing through downtown, dealing a direct blow to the First National Bank building and the Great Plains Life building. The tornado then moved north toward the airport, where at 10:00 pm, anemometers were already reading winds of 77 knots (approximately 90 miles per hour (140 km/h). At 9:46, power failed at the Lubbock Civil Defense headquarters, and three minutes later, the local weather bureau lost power and its personnel took shelter from the tornado, which was now bearing down on the area and passed over the Weather Bureau building at 10:03 pm.

The tornado continued north-northeast toward the communities of Abernathy and New Deal, where local authorities had begun sounding tornado sirens due to alerts passed along to them via two-way radio by the officials at the crippled Lubbock Weather Bureau office. The tornado finally dissipated at about 10:10 pm near the community of Petersburg…

The second tornado was devastating, affecting a 25-square-mile (65 km2) area or roughly a quarter of Lubbock. Hardest hit were the inner city commercial and residential areas, the light industrial area south of Loop 289, and the residential area north of Loop 289 and the Lubbock Municipal Airport. A total of 430 homes were destroyed, 519 sustained major damage, and 7,851 more sustained minor damage. Some of the homes were completely swept away. Another 600 apartments were destroyed and 549 damaged, and one hundred mobile homes were severely damaged or destroyed. The Guadalupe neighborhood, consisting of mostly old wood frame or stucco homes, and parts of the Mesa Road area near the Lubbock Country Club, were almost completely leveled.

Since the tornado hit the downtown area, over 250 businesses were also severely damaged or destroyed, including 20 city and county offices. Every motel along 4th Street and Avenue Q north of 10th Street sustained major damage, and several motels and other businesses along Avenue Q, which is a major artery through the city, were destroyed. Several banks and warehouses were severely damaged, and one nightclub lost its entire top floor. Eight elementary schools were damaged, as well as Lubbock and Estacado high schools, the latter losing a large portion of the roof over the gym. Damage was especially severe in the industrial areas of north Lubbock. At a grain storage complex, thick steel covers were peeled back from the tops of silos like soup cans. A 41-foot-long metal fertilizer tank, weighing 26,000 pounds, was thrown nearly a mile through the air. Large oil tanks in this area were hurled up to 300 yards away, and a railroad car was rolled for 50 yards…

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