1957 - TORNADO RAKES DALLAS 10 DIE; MANY MISSING. 196 Injured; Damage Heavy.
By Whitey Sawyer
DALLAS (AP) - A huge, black tornado whirled and roared over a deadly, 21-mile path across Dallas yesterday as thousands watched in fear and awe. Ten persons were killed and police sought others reported missing.
Some 196 were treated at hospitals for injuries.
JESS CURRY, assistant police chief, said damage would be at least 1½ million dollars.
Tornadoes also plowed into southern Oklahoma and killed at least five persons. Another person was killed near Paris, Tex., as a series of tornadoes skipped around north Texas.
The tornado lashed out of a black rainstorm. An estimated hundred thousand people watched as it swayed a leisurely, jerky course from South Oak Cliff through west Dallas and northwest Dallas. For 40 horror-filled minutes the lashing funnel filled the dark sky above a frozen city.
Passengers and crew of a Braniff Airlines plane watched from the air as the plane circled after takeoff from Dallas' Love Field.
Traffic piled up into fantastic jams all over western Dallas.
"Oh, lawd, it roared like a freight train and then was on us tearing our house down," ROBERT THURMAN, 31, sobbed. Blood oozed from a wound in his head. He trembled from shock as he sat beside his injured wife at Parkland Hospital.
The hospital was jammed with crying, waiting, bloody people. There were dozens of children, many numb and soaked with blood.
Four of the dead were children, including three in one family. One was a month-old girl and the three brothers and sisters, aged 5, 3 and 2 years.
The funnel was one of a series of twisters which hopped over the state. Other scattered injuries and damage were reported. A wide band of the northwest part of Texas was under a severe weather warning.
Panic rose in the streets as traffic piled up.
"I've got to get out of this jam“ it's hitting my house and my wife is home," a tearful old man begged and cried.
Many simply abandoned their autos, fearing the tornado was heading toward them. Police cars and ambulances, their sirens screaming, fought for passage.
The tornado was first spotted near Red Bird Airport, about 10 miles south of the heart of this north central Texas city of half a million. It then plowed northward like a giant top, spinning through residential, business and manufacturing areas. It slammed through Oak Cliff, part of the Trinity industrial district, west Dallas and on to the north.
If finally broke up near Love Field, northwest of downtown Dallas.
The base of the funnel apparently varied from 150 to 500 feet in width. Huge pieces of debris were whirled an estimated 2,000 feet into the air and sailed out sideways as the twister smashed houses, businesses, trees and vehicles. Brilliant flashes kept hoping about the base as power and trolly-bus lines snapped.
The twister slammed into a Negro district of small frame houses in west Dallas, leveling 46 of them in a three or four-block area. Nearly 50 persons were injured there.
Police evacuated a 13-block area where 197 homes were destroyed.
BILL McGILL, state coordinator of defense and disaster relief, said a "survey shows 154 houses in Dallas demolished. One hundred sustained major damage and 85 minor damage. Four apartment houses were demolished and 10 commercial buildings destroyed. Two Red Cross shelters were opened for the homeless."
DALLAS (AP) - The dead in the Dallas tornado yesterday were identified as:
WALLY WEAVER, 54, of Dallas, a filling station worker.
MRS. FLORENCE BUDICIL, 64, of Caddo, Okla., visiting a daughter here.
MARY LUCILLE HALLEY, one-month-old daughter of WILLIE JOY HALLEY.
Her mother, ELENA HALLEY.
ROBBIE LYNN ANDERSON, 3 years old.
A sister, MARSHA ANN ANDERSON, 2 years old.
A brother, DONALD RAY ANDERSON, 5 years old.
CHARLES SKILES, about 90.
His wife, VIRGINIA, 84.
LEROY HARRELL, 55, was killed in another tornado that struck near Paris, some 100 miles north of Dallas.
MILTON HILLIARD, 2 years old, died of injuries today.
The Abilene Reporter-News
April 3, 1957
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