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Evening Marks 41st Anniversary of Deadly Lubbock Tornado

Snapped Light Poles at Jones Stadium (Photo provided by City of Lubbock - LubbockTornado1970.com)

41 years ago this evening, a massive tornado tore through downtown and northeast Lubbock, killing 26 people and injuring approximately 500 others.

The first tornado of the evening touched down around 8:30 near the intersection of Broadway and Quirt (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) Avenues, and was much smaller than the one to come.

Around 9:35 p.m. on the evening of May 11th, 1970, the second tornado of the evening touched down near the intersection of 19th Street and University Avenue and began heading northeast.

The tornado, now classified as an F5 on the Fujita Scale, destroyed much of downtown and northeast Lubbock. At its peak, the tornado reached 2 miles in width, and affected a 25 square mile area in the city, or roughly one-quarter of the City of Lubbock at the time.

Over 250 businesses were damaged or destroyed outright and 430 homes were a complete loss, with over 500 others sustaining major damage. The Guadalupe Neighborhood and parts of the Lubbock Country Club neighborhood were largely leveled.

KFYO was the only broadcast outlet in Lubbock that broadcasted continually before, during, and after the Lubbock Tornado. The KFYO staff coordinated and broadcasted critical information to Lubbock during the tornado, and the station provided Lubbock’s only link to the outside world by broadcasting over the phone to 1080 KRLD in Dallas.

KFYO received numerous awards for coverage during the incident, which included multiple days of 24-hour commercial-free broadcast, including a Presidential Citation from President Richard Nixon.

The City of Lubbock has compiled a website detailing the events and aftermath of the Lubbock Tornado at www.lubbocktornado1970.com. The site also includes many pictures of the aftermath.

The 26 victims who were killed in the May 11th Tornado are:

Jose Aguilar

Machado Alafa

Frank Moreno Canales, Dr.

Thomas Andrew Cook

John Stephen Cox

Joseph Glenn Garrett (Great-Uncle of KFYO News Anchor Cole Shooter)

Shelbey Curtis Glenn

Otilia Gonzales

Dora Bertie Graves

Ola Belle Hatch

Ruth Knight

Jose Luz Leyva

Pedro Lopez

Salvadore Jack Lopez

Dale McClintock

Alan Raye Medlin

Dustin Lance Medlin

Kenneth Raye Medlin

Mary June Medlin

Angela Marie Mora

Estefana Guajardo Paez

Aurora J. Salazar

Lillie Amanda Short

Pauline Zarazua

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