My first recollected memory of a tornado came on May 6, 1967. I was five and we lived on Norwood Boulevard. I can clearly remember hearing storm reports on the radio and watching the blinding rain and powerful wind outside the window.
Tornadoes had been reported earlier round Winfield and Jasper.
Then about 6:45, as heavy rain poured and lightning flashed, a tornado snaked down near the Fairgrounds. The Fair Park Drive In was heavily damaged. The twister skipped eastward along Lomb Avenue, hitting the Double L BBQ and the GES department store.
A little further east, our home was in the heavy rain and hail.
My family’s carport collapsed in the storm, but fortunately my dad was at work with the car. I can remember watching it fall, in slow motion it seemed.
The next day, was cool and crisp with a bright blue sky, if I remember. My and grandad let me ride out to West End to see the damage with them. That day stoked my early fear of weather, a fear that would haunt me until the 1974 Superoutbreak. After that, fear turned to fascination and a healthy respect for the terrible storm.
A couple of years ago, I did a post on the tornado. Here is a link to that post.
Reader Robert Edgar sent me a couple of notes last week about the storm. Here are his recollections:
Hi Bill….Thank you for your note. That particular evening on May 6, 1967 I was walking home from my grandmothers house at 401 14th St SW she lived on the corner of 14th st and Alabama ave in West End. I walked north on 14th Ave till I got to Woodlawn Ave the GES store was right in front of me down that access street. I turned left walked west on Woodlawn Ave and the lightning was starting to the west. By the the time I arrived in my neighbourhood about 2 blocks from 14th St I got got to Madison Ave walking due north then I saw the funnel cloud and about 5 seconds later it touched down right at the Fairpark Drive in as I saw some of the screen fly into the air. The tornado had a short elephant trunk look to it and Greenish brown in color with the now familiar rumble roar sound. After it hit the GES store to my east I could only track it by the green power flashes above the treeline as it moved south east. It hit my aunt’s house on Princeton Ave also. There was allot of debris in our area and a set of drive in speakers with pole ended up in our front yard there on 1529 A Madison Ave
In April 1967 a series of tornadoes hit Belvidere, Illinois and I was intriged by that event wanting to learn more then May 6th came along. I was 11 years old at the time and I was even interviewed by WBRC-TV channel 6 on Sunday never saw my interview on TV though.
Robert had also commented on my original blog post. His comment:
I remember that evening like it was yesterday I was 11 years old and lived on Madison Ave just S.E. of the fairgrounds saw the tornado touch down saw many power flashes the funnel was greenish brown saw the tornado hit the GES store just to the east of us. Did sound like a freight train also remember the weather people saying that this tornado took a North West to South east track which if you look at a map of Lomb ave that verifies this. Tornadoes normally track SW to NE. One last note a Speaker pole complete with 2 speakers from the Fair Park Drive in Theater landed in our front yard. Tjhe Double L BBQ was destroyed.I do remember that one lady did pass away because of the storm. The storm was recently upgraded from an F2 to F3 rating.
Thanks for sharing Robert!