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Wichita Falls, TX Tornado, Apr 1964 - Twister Slams Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls TX 1964 tornado 1.jpg Wichita Falls TX 1964 tornado 2.jpg

7 Killed As Twister Slams Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls, Tex – UPI – A killer tornado dipped down out of a clear sky yesterday and churned a 15-minute path of death and destruction through Sheppard Air Force Base and two residential areas.

It killed seven persons, injured 68 and caused an estimated $1.5 MILLION IN PROPERTY DAMAGE.

THE DEAD were Albert MILLER, 75; Mrs. Dawson MINEAR; Mrs. Carl E. HOEFFGER, 58; Ernest CASWELL, 55; Mr. Rena CASWELL; Mrs. Hazel Rea COLLINS, 35, and a woman identified as Mrs. HARTAY.

Gov. John CONNALLY ordered 100 national Guardsmen to protect wrecked and damaged homes from looting.
At least 200 homes were destroyed.

At the air base, the funnel tore up an old Air Force hospital and a clinic, both empty at the time, and missed a new $5 million hospital.

AFTER THE twister passed through the base, it hit the El Fey trailer park nearby, destroying or damaging 20 trailers. The Lincoln Heights housing area also was hit.

A railroad boxcar was lifted about 100 yards and dumped on top of the ruins of a house. A car with two women in it was lifted up by the twister and dropped a block and a half away. The women were unharmed.

IN ST. LOUIS, a tornado-like wind, hail and rainstorm last night left one man presumed dead and at least $2.5 million in damages, authorities said.

The 80-to-100 mile per hour winds ripped off roof tops and crumbled building walls in south St. Louis.

Cold air which has plagued the northern two-thirds of the nation continued a slow march southward today, bringing snow flurries, strong winds and freezing rain.

Snow flurries swirled by strong winds impeded travel in the Northeast. A severe thunderstorm and an unconfirmed tornado ripped through an area near Graham, Tex., some 70 miles west of Fort Worth.

Tucson Daily Citizen, Tucson, AZ 4 Apr 1964


1964 Wichita tornado

I too was at Jefferson Elementary in Mrs. Jones 1st Grade class. I remember this day ... though I don't remember getting home early. We lived in Western Hills near Sea Blue. I'm sure I walked home, as I did most days. But, I remember my Mom and Grandmother piling us kids into a car headed east on 369 (very unadvisable)! Don't have a clue where we were going? But hey Mom was in charge.
We returned home when we felt sure it was passing to the North of us. I have memories of watching out my back window of a two-story home (not many in 1964. ... which afforded a nice view. Seeing debris cross the sky as it hit Shepphard.

300mph F5 or EF5 verified

300mph F5 or EF5 verified

My family at Sheppard, born at new hospital

My family was stationed there at Shepard in 64. My brother was born at the old hospital just two years before it was destroyed and I was born in the new one in December 64 several months after the storm. Heard about this story my whole life, amazing to see the actual documentation here, as well as all the great commentary of a time gone by when all of our lives crossed path.


I lived in Pottsboro at the time and my dad was stationed at shepherd. My dad and mom had just taken my sister to the hospital at the base and returned home when the tornado hit. Destroyed the house we had moved from the week before across from the base.

Wichita Falls, Texas tornado 1964

I was also at City View Elementary School that day. I was in third grade. I also remember being at recess and the clouds darkening. The air was so still and there wasn't a sound other than the kids playing in the schoolyard. I don't recall any sirens, but school staff frantically running down the halls, screaming to teachers to get the kids under their desks and away from windows. We were to cover our heads with our hands. I was praying like I had never prayed before. I looked up and saw my teacher, Mrs. Hobbs, under her desk, also praying. All of the windows in our classroom were busted out and debris and papers everywhere. I was picked up, along with my sister and cousins, and taken home. Our home was in Sunset Terrace One and had no damage. My Uncles home was in Sunset Terrace Two, just across a small ditch, and was heavily damaged but still standing. The home next door to his was leveled at the foundation. It is certainly something that I will never forget and is only months away from a 50th anniversary.

I read that it was an EF5,

I read that it was an EF5, with >300 mph winds. They aren't rated any higher that that.

wichita falls tornado 1964

I was there, in 4th grade at City View Elementary School. I remember being at recess and the clouds were getting dark, everything was still and the air felt hot and sticky. We were in our classroom when the sirens started...we pushed our desks together in the middle of the room and got beneath them. Had no idea what was happening, but it was scary. All the windows shattered in our classroom. When it was over my Mom had come to pick up me and my sister...she got there before the storm but they wouldn't let her get us and leave. On the drive home, we saw that an irrigation canal that went through the area was empty, the tornado must have sucked up all the water from it when it crossed over. We could still see the tornado on the ground to the northeast. We lost trash cans from outside the house, but one block to the north, the houses were totally demolished. It's something you never forget.

I was there, too. My brother

I was there, too. My brother was 3 months old,too. Dad was based at Shepard, too. I remember it well, but didn't realized what it was til I was older:) Bet our folks knew each other:)

I will never forget living

I will never forget living through this storm. I was 10 years old. It took the roof with trusses off the house and dropped them on the Carport. The window curtains were still on the rods hanging outside of the house. The next day after the carport debris was lifted my dad drove his blue and white 1955 Buick special straight to the junkyard and was given $ 75.00 for thescrap metal.

My Grandmother was one of the 7

My Grandmother was Mrs. Collins. She was taking my uncle to the hospital because he had appendicitis. She pulled off the road and was sucked out of the window while trying to protect him.

This tornado has affected my family in many ways. I've heard the stories, but never looked it up online before. It's interesting to see what other people have to say about it, and the video - that is amazing.

article | by Dr. Radut