“Gone With the Big Wind”

It’s still another month till the anniversary, but the people of Wichita Falls are remembering the massive tornado that nearly destroyed their town thirty years ago.

It was April 10, 1979, that Mother Nature grew furious.

It was when three supercells spawned a series of tornadoes that dispatched that fury — more than 50 tornadoes that barreled through not only Texas and Oklahoma, but through Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Alabama.

It was the perfect storm, and Wichita Falls was in the middle of it all.

An F4 tornado hit Wichita Falls late in the afternoon that day, Terrible Tuesday, killing 42 people in Wichita County and another 12 in Wilbarger County as it dug its heels over almost 47 miles, leaving unimaginable damage in its path.

It’s been 30 years since that day, and the Wichita Falls Museum of North Texas History is remembering the Terrible Tuesday that left its indelible mark in the area with its latest exhibit, “Gone With the Big Wind: 30th Anniversary of the 1979 Tornado.”

The exhibit is mainly a photography exhibit, with countless 8×10 black-and-white images displayed at the museum showing the destruction: cars pummeled as if they were made of tin, and frames of houses surrounded by a swirl of debris.

I blogged about the 25th anniversary of this storm back in 2004. I don’t have family living in Wichita Falls any more, but I still remember this well.

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