Tornado Index # 19700511.48.34


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Note: This approximate tornado path has been generated from data provided by the SPC.

The Tornado History Project generates approximate paths through separate historical archives provided by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Paths generated from the NCDC data are typically more detailed, but neither archive gives exact path information. There are several reasons that paths may be inaccurate:

  • Tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates were recorded with only 2 digits of decimal precision (i.e. [33.72, -86.15] vs [33.71689, -86.15463]). As a consequence, the observed points on the map may be slightly off from actual. Note that beginning in 2009, up to 4 digits of decimal precision are given.
  • Coordinates have not historically been calculated via GPS (Global Positioning System). Thus, tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates should be considered as estimates only.
  • Tornadoes may not have been in contact with the ground for the entire path as depicted on the map. Storm damage in any location depicted under the "path" should not be inferred.
  • Although paths are drawn as straight lines between any two sets of coordinates, the tornado may have "zigzagged" in some way.
  • Although paths are drawn as uniform thin lines on the map, it is likely that the tornado changed size over its lifetime. Damage in any location depicted under (or not under) the "path" should not be inferred.

Even with the above in mind, the data is the best available. If you see a path that is depicted incorrectly, please post a comment in the tornado forum indicating why you belive the path to be incorrect.

Paths generated from NCDC data are typically more detailed due to the way coordinates are listed in each archive:

  • SPC database - A maximum of 2 coordinates (touchdown and liftoff) is given for each tornado, or each state segment of a tornado if it is a multi-state tornado. Thus the vast majority of paths are depicted as simple straight lines.
  • NCDC database - Some tornadoes have mutliple sets of coordinates within any state, generally corresponding to entry and exit points by county. Thus, since more coordinates have been used to draw the path, the depicted path should be more accurate. Having said that, most tornadoes do not have additional path data in the NCDC archive. When they do, paths are drawn from the NCDC data.

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Statistics   Definitions |?|

The following statistics and definitions are derived from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) historical tornado archive. The Tornado History Project can not guarantee the accuracy of the underlying data within the SPC historical tornado archive. However, the data as presented here is guaranteed to match the SPC data, except where noted.

Some definitions will not be given since they are obvious (i.e. "Date", "Time", etc...)
Special Note: This site uses a unique index number to identify each tornado. This index number is not a part of the official historical tornado archive.

E (Error) (tornado search table only) - A yellow box indicates that the tornado record contains a suspected error. A red box indicates that the tornado record contains an error and has been modified from the official source. Hover over the box for the error text.
Map/Forum (tornado search table only) - Clickable icons for further content related to a tornado.
State - The state or states affected by a tornado.
Fujita - The Fujita scale is an attempt to classify damage from a tornado. F0 being the least damaging, F5 the most. For 2007 and beyond, the Enhanced Fujita (EF) is given.
Fat. - The number of fatalities attributed to the tornado.
Inj. - The number of injuries attributed to the tornado.
Width - Width in yards. It is unclear if this indicates a maximum width or mean width.
Length - Length of tornado path in miles. Note the entire track length is not necessarily all on the ground (some tornadoes "hop and skip".)
Damage - Prior to 1996, this is a range by dollar amount. For 1996 and later, actual damage estimates are in millions.
Crop Loss - Added in 2007. Given in millions of dollars.
Lat/Lon - Contains two sets of coordinates:

  • Touchdown Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate touchdown location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, entry point into the state in decimal degrees.
  • Liftoff Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate liftoff location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, the exit or lift-off point from the state in decimal degrees.

St. #. - The state tornado number assigned to the tornado for that specific state for that specific year. Generally, state tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.
SPC # - The tornado number as assigned by the SPC. Tornado numbers are not unique and reset each year. Generally, tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.

Tornado Summary

Date (y/m/d)TimeFujitaFatalitiesInjuriesWidthLengthDamageCrop LossTouchdown Lat/LonLiftoff Lat/LonSPC #State #
1970-05-1120:35:00 352650013338.4$50M-$500M-33.55 / -101.933.6 / -101.7718834
Affected StatesAffected Counties
Texas Lubbock
User Comments   (5)      
General Comment
2008-07-07 13:19:16
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Karen H
Rank: F0

I was in Lubbock the night of the tornado. I was a young high school junior at the time. I was at Bacon Heights Baptist Church (54th and Slide Road) with my friends. We were hanging around outside. I remember the sky was a lovely shade of pink and blue. I have never seen a pink sky again. But it also looked foreboding and I drove home. My parents lived at 47th and Chicago. We were not close to any storm centers. Before long, we started to get reports on the TV that something was amiss. Neighbors dropped by and soon we had hail and rain in enormous quantities. The wind was also quite high. One neighbor could not locate her husband and she was worried sick. She was pregnant with her first child. There were no cell phones in 1970. We lost power but it was only for a brief period. Eventually the neighbors husband arrived and was exhausted. He had been driving home but had to stop his car as he was aware of the storm. He had been helping folks at the horribly damaged Country Club Addition. This was quite a night. The next day, my family drove around town to view the damage. The damage was so great and there were power outages so schools were closed. My dad (who worked downtown at Pioneer Gas Company) spent a good bit of that day helping with the clean up efforts. Though it was 38 years ago, I recollect it well.

General Comment
2008-09-20 22:36:46
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Rank: F0

I was 3 yrs old when this hit. It was a very scary night indeed.

General Comment
2009-05-11 18:26:04
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Rank: F0

I was 7 when the May 11 tornado hit Lubbock. My family lived in Plainview and we spent much of the evening in the storm cellar. When we came out, there were shingles all over the place. All the houses on our street had to be reroofed, but we were a lot more fortunate than some that night. My dad was an electrical engineer for Southwestern Public Service and spent much of the rest of that month working on repairing the grid. I remember a television reporter talking about being in a high rise building in Lubbock when the tornado hit, and feeling the building moving from the wind. To this day, I remember every May 11 and the people whose lives were lost that night.

General Comment
2009-06-07 08:20:22
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Rank: F0

My husband and I had been married less than a year and he was completing his first year as a transfer student from Amarillo College at Tech in the School of Engineering. We were renting a 2 BR house just two blocks of Jones Stadium (on the campus of Texas Tech) on 7th Street. I worked for a finance company on 19th and my husband worked at night as a janitor/closer at Horton Aero Service at the Airport. I remember feeling antsy throughout the day and kept the television tuned to weather reports that evening as I prepared our dinner. As my husband closed up at Horton's around 9:00 PM, he usually arrived home around 9:30 and we would eat our dinner then. That evening, he'll pulled into the drive and decided to park between the houses instead of pulling up next to the garage. Just after we had set down to eat, our puppy started howling and my ears popped suddenly. We both slid underneath table as that was all the time we had to do. Just as we got under the table, we lost power and heard loud bangs and crashes. About 15 minutes later, the noise outside the house had diminished and we crawled out from under the table and got our big flashlight.

Briefly glancing outside the back door of the house, we saw (with the light for the flashlight) where the fence around the yard had been blown outward. Because of the dark we decided to stay indoors until dawn. We turned on our battery-powered radio and listened to all the information coming in about damage and confirmed fatalities. About 2:00 AM later that night, officers from the Lubbock PD knocked on our door to check on the occupants.

Later then morning of the 12th, we started northbound on US 87 to find telephones to call our parents and to take our puppy to my husband's parents in Amarillo (no fence). West of the airport area, at that time US 87 ran through what is termed a playa area. Most of the time this area, although low lying is dry grassland. That morning will all the rain from the storm the night before, the roadway flooded. We did a very stupid thing that I would never attempt now. We drove about a 1/4 mile through the water that flooded the road. There was a point at which the water was lapping against the lower front windshield when an 18-wheeler traveling southboard created a wake on the playa waters. Water was coming into the floor of the car (a '67 Chevrolet Impala); once we reached higher ground, we pulled onto the shoulder and bailed out the car.

my parents who had left Dumas about 4:30 AM and had gotten into Lubbock another way my mother knew. Our landlord, who lived next door, had told my parents that he had seen us both and that we were fine. They started back toward their home and stopped at the Phillips 66 station for fuel. We stopped at the Phillips 66 station in Plainview where there was also a restaurant at the same time my parents were fueling. We called my husband's parents in Amarillo just as they were leaving to come to Lubbock. My parents took our puppy northward with them after they bought us some lunch. We drove back home the same way by parents had taken to avoid the flooding on US 87.

I can still see the damage in my mind. I had lived in Tornado Alley all my life until we moved east 20 years ago and have a great deal of respect for these massively destructive natural phenomena. But I will never forget the night of May 11, 1970.

General Comment
2010-04-30 13:57:18
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Rank: F0

I was 11 years old when this tornado hit. I lived off Broadway and what is now Martin Luther King and that evening we were playing and running around when we heard sirens go off. We ran to my friends house and went inside when it started raining and hailing. My friends house was the nearest home with a cellar. My friend and I covered our heads with trash can lids and we went outside to open the cellar door for the elders to seek shelter. At this point the hail was golf ball size and bigger, it was really scary. To this day I dont know why we were the ones that went out to open the cellar but Praise God we did and by His grace we are still here to share our experience with others. Several neighbors came and got into the cellar as the tornado went through. In our neighborhood we didnt really have much damage but we could hear the roar of the tornado that sounded like a train. The next day we rode around different neighborhoods on our bikes and couldnt believe the horrific damage. I will also never forget that night and May 11th 1970 is engraved in my mind forever. Our prayers still go out for those fanilies who lost their loved ones and I am sure they will never forget either. 

God Bless you all!!!

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