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Texas | Features | Texas Storms

Hale Center (Hale County) Tornado
1965

By Marlene Bradford
Storm spotters gave residents of Hale Center a thirty-minute warning to take shelter as a ferocious tornado approached the town on June 2, 1965. Seven miles southwest of town the twister dumped a combine into an electric power station. Sparks ignited the debris rotating inside the funnel, giving the tornado the appearance of being on fire. A woman died in her farm home near the power station. At 9:15 P.M. the tornado cut a block-wide path through the town, demolishing historic and new buildings alike in the downtown section.

Mid-week services were just ending at the Church of God of the First Born when the tornado plowed into the crowded building. All of the children and many of the adults were injured; one child died. The tornado's trip through the town left three others dead and $8 million in damages. Instead of closing the town to sightseers, city officials invited visitors to tour the devastated area on the Sunday following the tornado. The National Weather Service retroactively rated this tornado an F4, with winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.


© Marlene Bradford May 31, 2015 guest column
Hale & Floyd County Texas 1920s map
1920s Hale County map showing Hale Center
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
See Texas Tornadoes: The Lone Star State’s Deadliest Twisters

See Hale Center

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