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Tornado! (1964)

City of Wichita Falls Public Information Office

Silent | 1964

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  •  A tornado on the horizon 
  •  The clouds get darker 
  •  “Tornado razes part of city” in the Wichita Falls Record News 
  •  Damage to the small town’s homes, cars, and businesses 
  •  Damage inside a home 
  •  Debris from homes piled up 
  •  A crew from the Sheppard Air Force Base goes out to begin clean-up 
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Filmed and edited by Anthony Trelikes in Wichita Falls, Texas, this amateur film documents a large tornado as it sweeps through Wichita Falls on April 3, 1964, as well as the resulting damage to the city. Eerie shots of tornadoes and the sky are contrasted against a demolished town. The tornado started north of the town before crossing Highway 277 into the Lincoln Heights neighborhood and eventually moving into the Sheppard Air Force Base. It was on the ground for almost 6 miles, with a path width of several hundred yards. Seven deaths were reported, along with $15 million in damages to the city. The National Weather Service recorded the tornado as an F-5, the highest intensity rating with winds greater than 261 MPH, and it is one of the largest tornadoes of all time. The disaster was one of the first to ever be captured and broadcast on national television when cameraman Carn Nichols and weatherman Dee Fletcher of KAUZ News Channel 6 moved a camera outside, giving viewers live updates of the tornado's progress.