WX History: May 25th

1880: An estimated F2 tornado moved northeast through the town of Mitchell, in South Dakota. Two men were killed when they ran out the back door of a saloon to reach the cellar entrance. The caulk stone saloon was destroyed along with two homes and several businesses. This tornado was one of the first significant tornadoes on record for the state of South Dakota.

1896: An estimated F5 tornado hit Oakwood, Ortonville, and Thomas, Michigan. Forty-seven people were killed, and 100 were injured. Trees were debarked “even to the twigs, as though done by the careful hand of an experienced artisan.” Parts of houses were found up to 12 miles away.

This photo shows the damage done by the “Cyclone of 1896” on Coats Road, east of the Village of Oakwood. Oakwood was destroyed in the cyclone and never rebuilt. The photos are courtesy of the Northeast Oakland Historical Society.

Source: Historic outbreak sequences: Five major tornado events during the second half of May 1896.  –  USTornadoes.com

1955: An estimated F5 tornado moved north and NNW through the heart of Blackwell, Oklahoma. About 400 homes were destroyed, and many were leveled and swept away. About 500 other homes were damaged. The tornado dissipated just over the Kansas border, as the Udall, Kansas tornado was forming to the east. The Blackwell tornado was accompanied by unusual electrical activity, with up to 25 discharges per second recorded on sferics equipment. The funnel was said to glow and have “arcs” of glowing light. The Udall, Kansas tornado was estimated to be an F5 as well. Over half of the population of Udall was killed or injured as the tornado completely devastated a large portion of town. Seventy-five people were killed, and many of the 270 injuries were serious.

May 25, 1955 Blackwell, Oklahoma Tornado Damage
The image above is Blackwell, Oklahoma following the tornado. The image is courtesy of the National Archives Catalog.
May 25, 1955 Udall Kansas Tornado
The image above is Udall, Kansas following the tornado.

Source: The Wichita Eagle.

2008: A rare, large and destructive EF5 tornado created a 43-mile long path across Butler and Black Hawk counties in Iowa. This tornado killed eight people, injured dozens and caused several millions of dollars in damage. The tornado was nearly three-quarters of a mile wide as it moved through the southern end of Parkersburg. A third of the town was affected by devastating damage with nearly 200 homes destroyed. This storm produced the first EF5 tornado in Iowa since 6/13/1976 and only the third EF5 tornado to occur in the United States in the past ten years. 

May 25, 2008 Parkerburg Tornado
The photograph of the tornado above is courtesy of Chief Deputy Tim Wolthoff from Grundy County.

Source: NWS Office in Des Moines, Iowa.


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