1975 Omaha tornado outbreak

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Coordinates: 41°15′N 96°00′W / 41.25°N 96°W / 41.25; -96

1975 Omaha tornado outbreak
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationMay 6–7, 1975
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Duration of
tornado outbreak2
~2½ days
Casualties3 fatalities, 137+ injured
Areas affectedMidwestern and Southern United States
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado

The 1975 Omaha tornado was a violent tornado that hit the Omaha metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Nebraska. It was part of a two-day outbreak that struck the Midwest and Southern United States on May 6–7, 1975, ending in the very early hours of May 8 across Louisiana. South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, and Mississippi were also struck by several tornadoes. In total, 36 tornadoes touched down across 6 states. The outbreak killed three people, injured 137, and resulted in damages costing $250 million to $300 million.

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
0 11 6 14 3 2 0 36

May 6 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
South Dakota
F0 SW of Kimball Brule 1705 12.4 miles (20.0 km) Barns and farm structures were destroyed on 4 separate farms. Five cattle were killed.
F1 SW of Tabor Bon Homme 1946 0.1 miles (0.16 km) Two barns were destroyed and a farmhouse was partially unroofed.
F0 SW of Tripp Bon Homme 2010 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F4 N of Pierce Pierce 1905 4.1 miles (6.6 km) Tornado struck the town of Magnet, damaging or destroying every building in town. Homes were leveled, cattle were killed, and vehicles were thrown over 200 yards and destroyed. Remarkably, only one person was injured.
F3 E of Pierce to W of Menominee Pierce, Cedar, Knox 1915 44.8 miles (72.1 km) Tornado destroyed barns and trailers and killed livestock. Homes and vehicles were damaged on the west side of Pierce.
F0 SW of Bloomfield Knox 1930 5.4 miles (8.7 km)
F3 N of Stanton Stanton, Wayne 1945 15.9 miles (25.6 km)
F0 SE of Colon Saunders 2100 3.4 miles (5.5 km)
F0 S of Waterbury Dixon 2130 3 miles (4.8 km)
F4 Omaha area Sarpy, Douglas 2133 8 miles (13 km) 3 deathsSee section below
F2 NE of Crescent Pottawattamie, Harrison 2200 12.8 miles (20.6 km)
F2 W of Beebeetown Pottawattamie, Harrison 2220 10.6 miles (17.1 km)
Source: Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 6, 1975, Grazulis (1975)

May 7 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
F3 W of New Hope Lowndes 1145 0.2 miles (0.32 km) Trees down and light house damage.
F0 Biloxi area Harrison 1710 0.2 miles (0.32 km) Sign twisted.
F2 NE of Smyrna Copiah 1750 9.7 miles (15.6 km)
F1 S of Eaton Forrest, Jones 1930 5.4 miles (8.7 km) Struck the town of Providence, where two homes were unroofed, and another was badly damaged. Many trees were downed, some of which landed on houses and roads. Two chicken houses were destroyed as well.
South Dakota
F0 N of Manchester to SE of Caprey Kingsbury 1655 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F1 E of Wendte Stanley 1800 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 W of Onida Sully 1955 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 SW of Onida Sully 2130 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F0 N of Mission Ridge Sully 2220 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F2 NE of Kingsland Travis 2200 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F1 N of Leander Williamson 2300 1 mile (1.6 km)
F2 NW of Nolanville Bell 2300 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F2 SE of Manteno Crawford 2330 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F2 NW of Jacksonville Shelby 0000 9.9 miles (15.9 km)
F0 Creston area Union 0015 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F2 SW of Van Wert Decatur 0100 0.1 miles (0.16 km) A barn and two hog houses were destroyed.
F2 Osceola area Clarke 0130 10 miles (16 km) Six farms were damaged in the area, where barns and sheds were destroyed. The roof and doors were ripped from one house.
F2 W of Clare Sabine 0400 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
F2 Welsh area Jefferson Davis Parish 0605 1 mile (1.6 km) Four trailers and 6 homes were destroyed. One trailer was found deposited in a treetop. Many trees were snapped and uprooted and 3 people were injured.
F1 Mansfield area De Soto 0615 0.7 miles (1.1 km)
F2 SW of Estherwood Acadia 0700 0.5 miles (0.80 km)
F1 S of Duson Lafayette 0730 0.5 miles (0.80 km)
F2 Baton Rouge East Baton Rouge 0730 6.2 miles (10.0 km)
F2 NW of Jack St. Helena 0800 (05/08) 0.1 miles (0.16 km)
Source: Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 7, 1975, Tornado History Project - Storm Data for May 8, 1975, Grazulis (1975),

Omaha, Nebraska[edit]

Omaha, Nebraska
F4 tornado
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Casualties3 fatalities, 133 injuries
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

During the early afternoon of Tuesday, May 6, 1975, a tornado watch was issued for much of eastern Nebraska. Initial tornado activity started in northeast Nebraska throughout the first half of the afternoon. At around 4:15 PM, a tornado warning was issued for the Omaha area and an F4 tornado[1] touched down about 15 minutes later in Sarpy County, Nebraska. The storm then moved north-east, cutting into Douglas County crossing Interstate 80 (injuring several motorists) and through west-central sections of the city of Omaha. The tornado chopped a path across 10 miles (16 km) of streets and residences, crossing the city's busiest intersection at 72nd & Dodge. Extensive damage occurred along 72nd Street, with numerous homes and apartments severely damaged, along with Creighton Prep School and the United Methodist Church. The Westgate subdivision was devastated, with many homes leveled, and a few that were swept away. The nearby Westgate Elementary School was destroyed. Bergan Mercy Hospital, Lewis and Clark Junior High School, a motel, and several industrial buildings were severely damaged as well. The tornado later lifted in the Benson Park area at 4:58.[2]

In one remarkable instance, First United Methodist Church minister of music Mel Olson spotted the rolling clouds in the sky outside the windows of the room where he was rehearsing a children's choir. He led them to safety below the church building. The building, located at 70th and Cass Streets, was struck and heavily damaged by the twister. The room where the children had been practicing, with three walls of windows, was hit and the glass exploded.

Three people were killed and 133 others were injured. One of the fatalities was a woman who was thrown by the tornado from her home to a backyard four or five houses away.[3] Debris was found miles away. Over 4,000 buildings were damaged and 287 were destroyed. In terms of damage, it was the costliest tornado in American history to that date, with damages costing at least $250 million to $300 million (around $1.7 billion in 2015 dollars), and insurance costs estimated at up to $1.1 billion (in 1975). It was the third-costliest tornado, behind the Oklahoma City-area F5 tornado on May 3, 1999, and the Wichita Falls, Texas, tornadoes on April 10, 1979, until the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado on May 22, 2011. It is now currently the seventh-costliest tornado on record.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NWS Storm Summary and Damage Survey - May 1975 Omaha Tornado
  2. ^ "Damage Photos from the '75 Omaha Tornado". NWS Omaha. NWS Omaha. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  3. ^ Omaha 5/6/75

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lubbock, Tx. (1970)
Costliest U.S. tornadoes on Record
May 6, 1975
Succeeded by
Wichita Falls, Tx. (1979)