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Texas Tornadoes
The Lone Star State’s
Deadliest Twisters


By Marlene Bradford



A Book Review
“Tornadoes are not just a part of Texas culture; they are a part of the history of many towns and communities throughout the state. The more than fifteen thousand tornadoes that have touched down somewhere within the boundaries of the Lone Star state since 1880 have claimed nearly eighteen hundred lives. Most were so weak the only evidence of their brief existence was a few displaced shingles or scattered tree branches. A few, however, left behind such destruction that just a mention of them sends chills down the spines of survivors: Waco, Wichita Falls, Saragosa, Jarrell. Texas Tornadoes details these storms that have claimed more than ten lives or are historically significant such as achieving a rare F5 rating.” - Marlene Bradford

From Texas Escapes:
It would be hard to imagine a more detailed, complete and factual book on Texas tornadoes. Included is a list of the top ten worst storms to have hit Texas with the rest distributed in chapters noting the most historically significant or most destructive. The rest are listed chronologically and are richly described through fact, anecdote and eye witnesses or survivor accounts. From the source of the word itself, to myth and folklore and historic developments in forecasting: it’s all here. Texas Tornadoes is an important book that entertains, informs and educates – without ever sounding like a textbook – which is what it’s qualified to be. - Editor

Tornado Accounts:

Editor: Our special thanks to author Bradford who has generously passed on eleven stories of towns that didn’t make it into the book. These accounts will be published separately:

  • Hale Center (Hale County) Tornado - 1965 5-31-15 >
  • Eagle Pass, TX, Maverick County, EF3 Tornado - 2007 5-8-15 >
  • Hurricane Carla, Galveston (Galveston County) - 1961 4-25-15 >
  • Olney (Young County) Tornado - 1951 3-14-15 >
  • Wills Point (Van Zandt County) Tornadoes - 1890, 1901, 1907 2-23-15 >
  • Henderson, (Rusk County) Tornado - 1866 2-1-15 >
  • Mineola (Wood County) Tornado - 1887 1-11-15 >
  • Hubbard (Hill County) Tornado - 1973 8-23-14 >
  • Vaughn/Bynum (Hill County) Tornado - 1959 7-18-14 >
  • Cedar Hill (Dallas County) Tornado - 1856 6-3-14 >
  • Avinger (Cass County) Tornadoes - 1885 and 1921 6-1-14 >
  • Crowell Tx - Doughboy Statue
    Crowell Tx - Navy Statue
    The damaged statues on the courthouse lawn in Crowell testify to the power unleashed by the 1942 storm that hit the Foard County Seat.
    Photo Courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
    Dr. Marlene Bradford retired from teaching and lecturing in June of 2013 and is now able to spend more time researching and writing about tornadoes. She is the author of Scanning the Skies: A History of Tornado Forecasting published by the University of Oklahoma Press and the editor of Salem Press's Natural Disasters encyclopedia. She also works with school severe weather safety (writing a book on schools and tornadoes).

    In an email to the editor she said: “As I told my students, teaching was my profession but tornadoes are my passion.”
    - 6-1-14

    Related Topics:
    Texas Storms |
    Texas Towns | Texas History
    Texas Books | Columns | Texas

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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