"Death Out Of Darkness" is a public safety documentary about the deadly tornadoes of the 11-April-1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, which affected portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The film primarily focuses on the devastation across Northern and Central Indiana. Produced in 1966 by the Indiana State Police and WISH-TV in Indianapolis, narrated by Lt. Dave Levendoski. Video from visualarchivist on YouTube. There were 47 tornadoes in less than 12 hours. This was the 3rd deadliest tornado swarm in U.S. history. See Also: Ted Fujita

Did the Wooden Leg Belong to Bob the Barber?






Submitted by Sue Wilden

Modified from Photo by premasagar
I was just less than a month from my third birthday when the Palm Sunday tornadoes came. My memories are sketchy at best, but they are lasting ones. My family lived on the corner of Clinton Street and Green Road, AKA County Road 30 and it was very rural at the time. No Greenfield Addition, no Roxbury Trailer Park, no water tower, just corn fields. And if anyone can tell me who Harry Green, Green Road’s namesake, was, I would appreciate it.

My brother and I were taken to the basement but my parents stood on the front porch facing the west, to watch the storms. They clearly could see the storm which was devastating Dunlap and the Midway Trailer Park. I am sure this was the same storm my Grandparents and Uncle watched in their dining room window, too afraid to move. We spent many an evening in the basement during 1965, choosing to take cover even for a garden variety summer thunderstorm.

My father helped in the cleanup efforts at Sunnyside and his stories were not pleasant. The most horrific story was the recovery of the eviscerated body of a young boy, which was found in a tree, with his intestines draping out like spaghetti. A wooden leg was found and it was initially feared Bob Voorhees, the local barber, was killed. Fortunately, Bob the Barber was fine and he would remember the tornadoes with a simple 4-11-65 sign on the front of his shop.

The Glad farm belonged to the grandparents of a friend of mine from kindergarten through graduation at Ball State. She in fact lived in the house before it became Peddler’s Village.
To this day, I just “know” bad weather is forthcoming and I am positive this came from Palm Sunday. My grandmother still likes to tell people I could sense a storm when I was little and with the watch and warning systems not being as sophisticated back then as they are today, I usually gave a good half hour lead time before the first bulletins came over the TV. I am still fascinated with tornadoes; I followed the Storm Chasers the past two seasons and I am anticipating seeing the IMAX movie Sean Casey worked so hard in filming. I would also like to see Reed Timmer get a dose of hubris by being tossed to OZ by an F5.

Other storms have come and will come, but none will be as, for the lack of a better word, special, as the Palm Sunday Tornadoes.

Just Another Weekend






Submitted by Jim Stewart

Just Another Weekend
(C) 2009, Jim Stewart

When you are young, time passes slowly, and sometimes it’s a monotonous routine. Monday moves into Tuesday, the week passes, and another ordinary weekend comes and goes. But then there are the times and events that bring change, shaping our lives, our thinking, and our emotions. Such was the Palm Sunday weekend of April 1965.

I grew up as an only child in and near Lima in Allen County, Ohio. Thunderstorms, wind, blizzards, droughts, and the like were commonplace in the Midwest. But what was brewing on that fateful weekend was different.

Shawnee Elementary School and High School
At nine years of age I was in the fourth grade at Shawnee Elementary School, a rather shy kid without many friends. On Friday of that fateful weekend I became progressively ill in class. I stayed for the full day, but was immediately ushered to bed as soon as I got home when my mother found I had a high fever. Our home at the time was located on Ft. Amanda Road near the intersection with Shawnee Road in the Shawnee Township area, about four miles southwest of Lima.

On Saturday morning, I was taken to the doctor to be checked out. The weather was partly sunny, and cool enough that a jacket was necessary. After being treated for the virus, apparently contracted at school, I spent the rest of the day convalescing on the living room couch. That afternoon my father and I watched a Reds game live from Cincinnati that was played under mostly sunny skies. Everyone in the Great Lakes area was totally oblivious to the terror that would move though the region in just over twenty-four hours.

Sunday dawned in a very strange way, at least to me as a young child, as a heavy thunderstorm raged outside with all the ingredients you would expect in the afternoon or evening of a spring day. It was actually a strong warm front pushing its way northward, ushering in very warm, moist, and unstable air to the region along with an unusually strong jet stream high above, a harbinger of the main event now just a few hours away.

The remainder of that morning is rather sketchy. My parents went to church, and I was left at home with my Great, Great Aunt May, who was living with us at the time. I remember that the weather cleared, and by afternoon the sun was shining. My father and I again watched television, the Master’s Golf Tournament from Augusta, Georgia, with bright sunlight streaming through the western windows of the living room. I never ventured outside that afternoon due to my illness, but I do know it had warmed considerably from the previous day.

In the early evening I was feeling better. My parents went to evening church services and my Aunt May looked after me as we continued to watch television. At the time there were no severe weather watches or warnings broadcast, although tornadoes were already occurring to our far west and northwest.

We were watching local channel 35 WIMA-TV as the Wonderful World of Disney came on at 7:30 P.M. and darkness fell. As the program continued, I noticed a strobe-like flashing in the southwestern sky. The flashing was nearly constant and becoming brighter as time passed. Aunt May, who was setting next to a window, became very nervous as she moved to another chair in the interior of the room for fear that the lightning was going to strike her. Strangely, the thunder had yet to be heard, indicating that we were observing a very strong electrical storm still a distance away but moving our way.

By 8:30 P.M. the storm was more to the west-northwest still putting out a large lightning display, but not quite as intense as earlier. There were still no severe weather statements on local television.

Just before 9:00 P.M. my parents returned home from church in time to watch Bonanza. They did not say much about the approaching storm other than that there was a lot of lightning going on in the northwest. Soon after Bonanza began WIMA-TV finally broadcast a vague weather alert from the weather service in Toledo that called for “…severe thunderstorms with a tornado or two till 10:00 P.M.” No references were given to any specific counties as tornadoes raged in several locations at that moment; unfortunately this lack of warning likely caused many fatalities.

Around 9:15 P.M. the storm suddenly seemed to explode just to our north in a way I had never seen before nor have seen since as vivid lightning of green, pink, white, orange, and blue lit the sky. I did not realize that the blue flashes were likely not lightning, but rather, power line flashes and transformer explosions as the tornado bisected Allen County just eight miles north of our home. Even the reception from WIMA-TV, located about five miles north-northeast of us, became so bad that it was unwatchable as the storm passed by. We had to switch to another station from Dayton, some sixty-five miles to the south, using our VHF roof antenna. During the time we watched this station, it came in unusually strong, as if it was local. There were some very strange atmospheric phenomenons transpiring for these few moments as the storm traversed the area.

The storm began to move out to the northeast as strong west southwest winds began to buffet our home. The cold front that generated the storm had arrived ending the severe storm threat. I went to bed having no idea of the destruction that had been and was still taking place all around our region. What is now rated as the third largest tornado outbreak in history had left in its wake over 250 dead, thousands injured, and an untold number of homes, businesses, and churches reduced to rubble. The wind howled most of the night as I lay in my comfortable bed, but we didn’t even lose power. We were blessed.

Monday morning dawned bright and sunny. My mother was listening to a local radio station as it ran continuous reports about the tornado that ripped Allen County in half the previous evening. The radio station even had a news correspondent in an airplane reporting live on the damage as he flew over the storm’s path, a rather innovative feat for the time. Feeling better as far as my illness was concerned, I stayed home from school just to be sure I was totally over the virus, but I was feeling rather strange about this unexpected event that was unknowingly affecting my life.

Many stories began to surface after the tornado blew through. My father, a pipe fitter and welder, was working in Toledo at the time and made an early Monday morning drive to work each week. On the morning of April 12 he saw damage from the storm as he drove up Interstate 75 between Beaverdam and Bluffton, with overturned trucks and cars as well as other debris on the highway for nearly a mile. The husband of some relatives who lived just east of Lima observed the storm’s passage from a patio door as the rest of the family huddled in their basement. He said as soon as the storm passed to his northeast the stars came out and he knew it was all over, everything would be fine.

Photos courtesy of Toledo Lucas County
Public Library http://www.ohiohistory.org

It appears this particular supercell of the 1965 Palm Sunday Outbreak, which generated the Allen County tornado, originated more than two hours earlier southeast of Lafayette, Indiana, and moved, under the influence of unusually strong upper level jet stream wind, east-northeast at speeds of over sixty miles per hour. It appeared to be what is now termed a cyclical supercell that generated many separate, strong, multi-vortex tornadoes. Its nearly 275-mile path ended near Cleveland, Ohio. Across Indiana it leveled the towns of Russiaville, Alto, southern sections of Kokomo, Greentown, southern sections of Marion, and areas near Berne before crossing into Ohio. Once Ohio was the target, the twister passed just north of Rockford, south of Van Wert, and just south of Delphos as it entered Allen County. At that point the storm reorganized, producing a new F-4 vortex just northwest of Elida. This corresponded to the explosive increase in lightning intensity we observed as the storm was passing to our north. Moving along at nearly sixty miles per hour, the tornado destroyed everything in its path, with the little village of Cairo its next pending victim. Mercifully, the tornado lifted just west of the town and set down again just to the northeast, sparing the community major damage.

Relentlessly, the funnel pressed on toward Interstate 75. A railroad parallels the highway between Beaverdam and Bluffton with a deep ditch between the road and tracks. It appears this ditch caught or disrupted the tornado’s circulation enough to divert it to the northeast, where it wreaked havoc with any vehicle on the highway for about a mile. Finally it jumped the road and, reassuming its east-northeast path, moved out of the county.

I observed firsthand the damage two weeks later, when the public was finally allowed into the storm track area. Our family took a Sunday drive following the damage path from west to east. I saw things that were both frightening and fascinating. Many homes were totally destroyed; some still had walls but no roof; vehicles of all types lay scattered across fields, along with bits and pieces of people’s lives. High-voltage transmission towers lay twisted flat on the ground, and an electrical substation was totally wiped out; these were likely the sources of the blue flashes I saw to our north the night of the tornadoes.

I was most impressed with the foundation of an old farm house, wiped clean by the wind, with an upright piano still standing in the open air. Once part of a family fixture in a living room, now the piano was the only a remnant of the home that had once stood there.

It is interesting how a single event can be pivotal in our lives even at a young age. So it was for me with the Palm Sunday Outbreak of 1965. At first my fear of thunderstorms increased. Every year I felt a dread of April and springtime; I imagined that each storm that came up could be like that evening, except this time the funnel would get us. Time passed, and my fear evolved into a great respect for weather in general and deep interest in severe thunderstorms and hurricanes in particular—how and why they form. Still, after nearly forty-six years, there are times when I think back to that weekend and recall the feelings and emotions, remembering those who were adversely affected by the events of that weekend in April, 1965.

(C) 2009, Jim Stewart

The Sound of a Freight Train and the Twin Tornadoes






Submited by Ron Lantz Sr.

My palm Sunday story starts on at cloudy Sunday early evening I was 16 and sitting with my parents watching Disney's Wonderful World of Color, when all of a sudden a car storms in to our driveway on the corner of Hively and Southdale Dr. A couple jumps out, runs up to our front door, practicably beating It down and hollering, "A tornado coming, tornadoes coming can we get in your basement?" Well of course my parents let them in and we ran to the basement.

Within a short time we heard the sound everyone talks about, the sound that makes you think a freight train is running beside your house. We looked out the basement windows and could see the twin tornadoes in the air eastbound looking as they were following Mishawaka Road, probably just seconds before the famous picture was taken. Well they passed and after a little while the couple that burst in our door headed home to check on their family, they told us how much they appreciated our basement as they left.

About an hour or less after they went through, my dad, Delbert Lantz, got an emerency phone call that sent him to Sunnyside subdivision to turn off gas lines, as he was a construction foreman for NIPSCO. When he had arrived and began to work, he received word that his stepbrother's house and garage were gone, his stepbrother was found deceased in his neighbors basement, believed to have been blown there from out of his own home. His wife was not found for 3 days, farther away as she was caught by the storm between her house and her son Fritz Griffins house. She was on the way to warn them. My uncle had just built a new 24x24 garage and all that was left were the bolts sticking up from the concrete. He also had a fishing boat and motor that was never found.




The Truth about “The Twins”






Submitted by Robert Hartig

The Truth about “The Twins”
© 2011 by Robert Hartig

Arguably the most famous tornado photograph ever taken is one shot on April 11, 1965, by Elkhart Truth photographer Paul “Pic” Huffman, depicting twin funnels straddling US 33 between Elkhart and Goshen, Indiana. Paul’s award-winning photo became the icon of the 20th century’s second worst tornado outbreak, the notorious Palm Sunday Outbreak. It has also been the subject of a longstanding controversy, no doubt as old as the newspaper accounts which first attended that photo.

Did “The Twins” (as the dual funnels in Huffman’s photo have been called) strike the Midway Trailer Court, or did they destroy the Sunnyside Division in Dunlap? According to Huffman, his remarkable series of photos—there are actually seven images in all, six of which I’ve seen—was taken at close range as the freakish-looking double tornado approached, demolished, and then exited the trailer court. Yet other eyewitnesses from that day insist that Paul’s and other newspaper accounts were wrong, and that The Twins actually struck Sunnyside, not the trailer court. Who is right?

I’m convinced that both sides of the issue are factual. One eyewitness story doesn’t have to be wrong in order for another to be right, and I’m going to furnish a credible explanation why.

What People Didn’t Know Back in 1965

Photos by Paul Huffman - Source
Click to Enlarge
The double funnel in Paul’s famous photo portrays in striking detail a phenomenon called multiple vortices. Simply put, the term means that a tornado can consist of more than one funnel. Today multiple vortices are an established fact, understood by tornado scientists and regularly observed by storm chasers. In 1965, however, no one knew about them. The spotty damage paths created by multiple vortices were attributed to tornadoes “skipping.” In reality, though, smaller funnels frequently form within larger funnels, generating complex wind motions, a broad variety of appearances, and erratic damage patterns. Multiple vortices are part of a dynamic, rapidly changing process. Some tornadoes change their shapes relatively slowly; others morph with amazing rapidity; but all tornadoes are constantly altering in appearance and intensity throughout their life cycle, and multiple vortices are an integral part of how tornadoes look and behave.

Often multiple vortices are obscured by dust and debris. In the case of Paul Huffman’s series of photographs, however, the transition from a single, narrow funnel to two large funnels is graphically portrayed—so clearly, in fact, that famed tornado scientist Dr. Theodore Fujita used Huffman’s photos as his basis for a groundbreaking analysis that corroborated his theory of what he called “suction spots.”

Multiple vortices are fairly common. As a storm chaser who has to date witnessed around 25 tornadoes, I have observed the phenomenon often. My belief is that every tornado displays multiple vortices to some degree, but even chasers who might take issue with me will agree that Ted Fujita’s suction spots are by no means a rare occurrence. Today you can find all kinds of video and photographic documentation of multiple vortices in myriad shapes and behaviors.

But not in 1965. No one knew about multiple vortices in those days. Moreover, very few photos of tornadoes existed compared to the abundance of images available today. So when Paul’s photograph appeared in the papers, people naturally concluded that he had captured an utterly one-of-a-kind occurrence.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Here’s what I believe happened: Paul Huffman photographed twin funnels demolishing the Midway Trailer Court, exactly as he described in his firsthand writeup in The Elkhart Truth. Then 45 minutes later, other equally credible eyewitnesses watched a similar double funnel sweep through Dunlap two-and-a-half miles up the road.

Because observers of the second tornado knew what they saw, and because they were unaware how frequently multiple vortices occur, they were certain that reports based on Paul’s account had gotten it wrong. But that wasn’t the case. There were simply two different “Twins”–the one that Paul photographed, and another one that hit Sunnyside afterwards. Anyone who is familiar with multiple vortices—and who isn’t biased by a personal, proprietary stake in Paul’s photo—will agree that this explanation makes a lot of sense. The alternative is to insist that either one party or the other was misinformed or else flat-out lying, and to me that conclusion does not make sense. It is neither realistic nor necessary.

Click to Enlarge
Paul Huffman and his wife, Elizabeth, were not misinformed and they certainly didn’t fabricate their experience. They are highly credible witnesses. Paul, after all, is the guy who took the photo. He knew what he saw and had no motive to lie about it. As a news photographer and local resident—his home was very near Dunlap—he was intimately acquainted with the area and with Elkhart County in general. He knew exactly where he was when he pulled his car over just southeast of Kundred’s farm, stepped out into that millrace of wind, and photographed the tornado passing at close range. At least one landmark from a couple of his photos, still extant today, bears out his location. The details in Paul’s photographs and the apparent proximity of the tornado indicate that the tornado crossed US 33 within a half-mile of Paul, not two-and-ahalf to three miles up the road in Dunlap. The Dunlap tornado would have appeared much smaller through Paul’s 50 mm lens, and the debris would have not have been distinguishable with the clarity and definition seen in the photographs. There are several other very good reasons to believe that Paul’s account is trustworthy, not the least being his penchant as a journalist for sound reporting.

That being said, the fact that a number of people have insisted, some vehemently, that The Twins hit Dunlap suggests to me that a twin funnel did hit Dunlap. It’s no problem for me to believe this. A tornado as large and powerful as the Dunlap tornado almost certainly had multiple vortices. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it didn’t. Such vortices are often associated with exactly the kind of intense damage that occurred in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

I have seen only one halfway decent photograph of the Dunlap tornado, shot from the ruined trailer park. Taken roughly 45 minutes after Paul took his photo series, right around sundown, the photo is dimmer and the tornado is not nearly as distinct. In that image, you can see just one large funnel. Given how constantly and swiftly tornadoes morph, my guess is that the tornado became visibly multi-vortex as it moved into Dunlap, similar to the way that the Midway tornado went multi-vortex as it approached the trailer park.

In Conclusion

So there you have it: what I believe is the truth about The Twins. Both sides of the issue know what they saw and both have told the truth about it, and the only person who’s wrong is the person who insists the other guy is wrong.

Of course, there’s no way I can prove my theory conclusively, and with nearly 50 years gone by, I doubt anyone ever can. So if, having read this article, you’re of the opinion that what I’ve written is hogwash, have it your way. But I doubt there’s a more commonsense answer to the controversy over The Twins than the one I’ve provided. Hopefully, some of you who for years have felt frustrated over this issue can now let it go. You saw what you saw, and there’s no reason for anyone to doubt you. Paul also saw what he saw, and there’s no reason to doubt him either. It’s not an either/or thing; it’s a both/and.

Multiple vortices. They occur often, but no one knew about them back in 1965. Today they’re common knowledge. Multiple vortices are what hit Midway, and they’re what hit Dunlap, and they’re what no doubt hit quite a few other places that day. That’s my theory, anyway, and I think it’s a good one. So for heaven’s sake, people, give it a rest. It’s a non-issue. Put it away now and get some sleep.

Postlude

I wrote this article after exchanging a few emails with Jenni. I had planned to save my thoughts on The Twins controversy for a book I’m writing on the Palm Sunday Tornadoes. But when Jenni invited me to share my ideas here, I decided to do so. There’s no telling how long it will take me to complete the book, and meanwhile, why not address this longstanding issue now and maybe help a few people find closure in a matter that has, for some, remained a point of frustration. I don’t know how widespread the issue is that I’ve addressed. I’ve simply encountered it enough that I know it exists, and I don’t think it needs to. The answer isn’t a matter of insisting that one viewpoint is right and another one is wrong, but of introducing a different viewpoint altogether, based on knowledge that didn’t exist in 1965.

My perspectives are those of a storm chaser who has a pretty good grasp on what makes tornadoes tick. I’ve been fascinated by tornadoes since I was a boy, and over the last 15 years that fascination has grown, slowly but steadily, into an active interest that has taken me all across the American heartland. My avocation as a storm chaser has taught me much and rewarded me with some unforgettable experiences.

The 1965 Palm Sunday Outbreak influenced me profoundly as a boy living in Niles, Michigan. Although I didn’t experience the tornadoes firsthand, the event has been a shaping force in my life. That’s one reason I’ve decided to write a book about it. It is a story that needs to be told, while there are still people left to tell it, in the light of both yesterday and today.

I applaud Jenni for developing this site. Her passion for the Palm Sunday event is one I relate to completely. She has had the vision to do what I probably should have done but didn’t! I look forward to seeing this site grow and develop as you share your personal experiences of the 20th century’s second worst tornado disaster.

If you enjoyed this article, then I hope youl’ll visit my own blog on storm chasing and jazz saxophone, Stormhorn, at http://stormhorn.com.

Blessings,
Bob Hartig

Twin Tornadoes Examined by Fujita








Click To Enlarge

Figure 46 Click to Enlarge
Shows the development
When an aerial photogrammetric survey of the damage by tornado 5-2, which devastated the Midway Trailer Court (figs. 22 and 23) was taken, extremely severe damage could be traced along two paths that seemed to represent those of the twin funnels photographed by Huffman (fig. 2 4 ) . Standing at the same spot between US-33 and the New York Central Railroad tracks about 0.7 mi from the Midway Trailer Court, Huffman took a series of six pictures, which, gridded with azimuths and elevation angles for every l 0°, are shown in figure 46. The grid lines were computed after a visit to the photographed site by Fujita.

Huffman's site and the damage path are shown in the topographic map at the top of figure 47. His first photo- graph (fig. 46A) was taken looking almost due west. His second reveals a single funnel which in the third picture, when examined carefully, shows some evidence of splitting. The fourth one (fig. 46D) shows twin funnels on both sides of the highway, giving an impression that US-33 runs through a tunnel between the funnels. The fifth photograph very clearly indicates the patterns of stratified low clouds wrapping around the twin funnels, permitting us to determine the direction of both funnels to be identical and cyclonic. The patterns also give dimensions of circulation that are closely related to the tilt of the tornado axis. The best estimate of the tilt is 39' north-northeast. 

Figure 47 - Damage path and debris
marks near the Midway Trailer Court
indicated by letter M (top) Click to Enlarge
In figure 47, the middle chart represents photogram- metric positions of the funnels appearing in Huffman's six pictures (fig. 46). Black circles designate the initial funnel touching the ground; the small circles, the complemental funnel that appears in the third picture. The sequence reveals that the funnel near the ground increased rapidly in diameter between the first and second pictures, then began splitting in two. After the split, the two funnels rotated about each other around their common center. The bottom drawing in figure 47 illustrates the rotation and the photographic directions. The above offers a speculative explanation that the split in the funnel was caused by the rapid increase in the funnel diameter, while the tilt of the funnel axis was in excess of 30°. From the translational speed of the tornado, about 50 mi hr-', the estimated time intervals between successive pictures in seconds are : numbers 1-2, 17 sec; numbers 2-3, 27 sec; numbers 3-4, 13 sec; numbers 4-5, 8 sec; and numbers 5-6, 31 sec. Thus the increase in funnel diameter between the first and second pictures took place within no more than 17 sec. When a tilted column of rotating air increases its diameter very rapidly, the air parcels near the ground cannot move around the center. The motion beneath the tilted axis, especially, is restricted because of limited flow space and surface friction. As a result, the funnel may quickly take the shape of a shortcut circulation while the rest of the vortex starts forming another funnel. This began to occur at position 3, and when position 4 was reached, the initial vortex was dying out rapidly while the complemental vortex intensified. About 50 sec after the funnel had started to split, the twin funnels changed again into a n almost single one at position 6, the entire process having taken less than 1 min.



My Dad Was in the National Guard






Submitted by Beth Riches

I wasn't even three years old when it happened, so I have no direct memories of it.

Flickr Copyright All rights reserved by yzzordorex
However, my Dad was in the National Guard, and ran the armory in Elkhart. He was called out for the aftermath and took plenty of pictures. It wasn't uncommon to have a slideshow when family got together. Dad would set up the projector, and we'd watch slides of vacations, reunions, and so on. Dad would always show the pictures he took when he got called out for the tornadoes. I can still remember the images of destruction, and being terrified of what these terrible storms could do. Everyone would get very quiet when those pictures were shown, with an occasional hushed, "Oh, my goodness" or maybe a horrified, "Will you look at that?" I still have a deathly fear of tornadoes and often have nightmares about them. I know that Dad never intended for that to happen to me, but those were images that stuck with a young girl.

Dad occasionally talked about it, but it wasn't until just a few years ago that he told me something that made me realize how bad it was for him and his fellow Guardsmen. Because they weren't just helping the injured and assuring the safety of everyone; they were also recovering bodies. Dad gave no further details.

My sister is the archivist at the Elkhart County Historical Museum, and Dad donated all of his pictures to the museum a few years ago. They are still there, and my sister told me that someone came up from Indianapolis a while back to work on a video about the tornadoes and used some of their material. I believe that is the video you posted here a while back, "Death out of Darkness." I don't know if the museum has the photos online, but here is their website: http://elkhartcountyhistoricalmuseum.blogspot.com/

A Portrait of Disaster - Slide Show of Marion, Indiana






Submitted by Nancy Bishop



From the publication, A Portrait of Disaster by Campus Studios. J. Michael McCarty Photographer




A special thanks to Nancy Bishop for her generosity in allowing me to use her photograps. Please see correspondence below. I will publish her husband's mother's story as soon as she sends it to me.
Hi,
Thank you for the comment on my blog about the tornado that killed my
husband's mother when he was six years old. 
I would be happy to share the photos we have with you. I'm not sure
right off hand how many are on this website, but you are welcome to
whatever is there. When I have time tomorrow, I will try to sit down
and compose something to go along with the photos to tell Sue's story.
Again, I thank you so much, and look forward to following your site as it grows. 
Thank you,
Nancy Bishop
http://www.freewebs.com/nancye1962/thebullockdescendants.htm

Twin Tornadoes - Eyewitness Account






Submitted by James A. Faigh

When they announced that a tornado had touched down at the Midway Trailer Park my father and two of my siblings hopped in the car and drove to the site. My father was the sales director at WTRC and possessed a press pass. The deputy at the road block allowed us in. Sheriff Caton, who was a close friend of my father, quickly commandeered my father along with others to help the injured and retrieve the dead.

My brother and myself continued to watch the skies to the west. The clouds continued to form spirals, descending down but retracting. But soon a tunnel began to form and continued to descend. Both my brother and I alerted all that a tornado was approaching. Because there were no structures left ,alone the cinderblock utility building, the deputies ordered everyone to cross US 33 and lay in the ditch beside the railroad tracks. This was the lowest ground near. When it was apparent that the tornado was tracking south towards us we were ordered to take shelter behind the only structure still standing, a small utility cinder block building.

Photo taken by Paul Huffman
Source: NOAA Photo Library
I remember being one to take shelter first and that a group from a church bus, that been stopped and evacuated, had piled on to us. The sound was unforgettable, it was that of 10 locomotives, bearing down on us, the church patrons praying for God to save them and me, praying that several layers of people on top of me would save my fate. Moments later the deputies announced that the tornado was moving away from us. We emerged and watched the rare site of a tornado split into two and become a twin. That was the moment that Paul Huffman, Truth photographer, took his famous photograph. Incidentally, Paul misidentified the tornado as the one that destroyed Midway Trailer Court and that misinformation has been repeated over the years. To this day, Paul contends it to be true, but since I was there I can assure you that the Midway was destroyed by the earlier tornado We stood in awe, as we watched from a distance, the twins crossed US 33 into the Sunnyside addition and reapt destruction and death. Later we were able to return home to our mother who was visibly and verbally upset, but we soon discovered that it was her fear for our safety that invoked her emotions .

That week was a paramount in my life, as a student at Pierre Moran Jr High School, we were excused from classes because the gym was used as a morgue, as a boy scout, my troop volunteered to help clean up the destruction. I even have memories of a 2x4 board bisecting a VW Bug lengthwise.

When I was young I remember a "old indian saying" that Elkhart was safe because a tornado would never strike where two rivers met. Well I guess that remains true because the tornado struck in Dunlap. But I was foolish to jump into the back of my father's car that Palm Sunday afternoon.

Tornadoes continued to develop, and the only F5 tornado [later downgraded to F4] of the day occurred near Elkhart, Ind. Some accounts indicated the famous "double tornado" hit the Sunnyside subdivision killing 36 people, while other eyewitnesses said it actually hit the Midway trailer park.