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Tornado
Photos

Photos of the April 10, 1979 Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

Wichita Falls Tornado - Wolfgang Lange

The formation of the tornado and its movement toward the Memorial Stadium and McNiel Junior High School were captured by Wolfgang Lange from the front of his apartment complex which was across the street from school building (Tornado Track Figure; Location #2). After taking his last picture of the approaching tornado, Mr. Lange retreated to the apartment complex laundry room and hid between heavy commercial washers and dryers, escaping with only minor injuries.

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-northwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at wall cloud on the southwestern edge of the thunderstorm. © Wolfgang Lange

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at wall cloud on the southwestern edge of the thunderstorm. McNiel Junior High School is shown in the middle left of this and all of the following photos. The school building was totally destroyed by the tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the time of tornado touchdown. © Wolfgang Lange

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado.
© Wolfgang Lange

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Wolfgang Lange


Wichita Falls Tornado - Robert Molet

On the first street of houses to the northeast of Wolfgang Lange's apartment complex, Robert Molet also photographed the approaching tornado (Tornado Track Figure; Location #3). Unlike Mr. Lange, Mr. Molet did not have an unobstructed view of the western horizon and did not immediately recognize that the threatening cloud was a tornado. Thus, he stood in his backyard driveway and photographed the destruction of the apartment complex and the beginning of destruction in his neighborhood. Mr. Molet continued to take photographs until the wind blew him into his garage.

Although his house was completely destroyed, Mr. Molet escaped with only minor injuries as his pickup truck was blown over him, protecting him from the worst winds and debris. The tornado's first fatalities were recorded in the apartment complex and adjoining housing area.

Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet

  Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet

Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet

  Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet

Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet

  Wichita Fall, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest near Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas at the approaching tornado. © Robert Molet


Wichita Falls Tornado - Pat Blacklock

The tornado was photographed from the south during this period by Pat Blacklock, who was located on the southern shore of Lake Wichita (Tornado Track Figure; location #5). In the latter Blacklock photographs, the gust front and associated strong west winds to the south of the tornado can be seen producing waves on Lake Wichita and kicking up spray from the lake.

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking north-northwest from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. © Pat Blacklock

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking north from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. The tornado has widened and intensified at this stage. © Pat Blacklock

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking north from south shore of Lake Wichita at the tornado approaching Wichita Falls, Texas. The tornado has widened and intensified at this stage. © Pat Blacklock


Wichita Falls Tornado -
Professor Joe Henderson/Troy Glover

As the tornado crossed Kemp Boulevard in Wichita Falls, several commercial businesses, including a restaurant, were destroyed with several additional fatalities. The tornado's worst winds generally missed the Sikes Senter Shopping Mall to the South, but a few of the stores were heavily damaged and many cars in the mall parking lot were blown some distance and stacked on top of each other. Beyond the shopping mall, the tornado crossed a greenbelt area, skirted Midwestern University on its south side, and severely damaged several more housing additions (Colonial Park, Hursh, Southmoor, Southwinds, and Southern Hills). During this interval, the tornado was photographed by Professor Joe Henderson of Midwestern State University from the Ligon Coliseum (Tornado Track Figure; Location #7) and by Troy Glover from the roof of the Bethania Hospital (Tornado Track Figure; Location#8).

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking west-southwest at the approaching tornado from Ligon Coliseum at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Joe Henderson

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado from the roof of Bethania Hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas. © Troy Glover

   

Wichita Falls Tornado - Winston Wells

After the tornado left Wichita Falls and travelled northeast, it entered Clay County and changed its appearance. As seen in the photographs by Winston Wells (Tornado Track Figure; Location #10), the tornado became multi-vortex, displaying as many as five satellite vortices rotating around the center of circulation. In this stage, the tornado did extensive damage just south of Dean and near Byars, destroying a large number of rural homes, but causing no more fatalities.

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. © Winston Wells

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. Multiple vortices are seen in this photo. © Winston Wells

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. Multiple vortices are seen in this photo. © Winston Wells

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. Multiple vortices are seen in this photo. © Winston Wells

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. © Winston Wells

  Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. Multiple vortices are seen in this photo. © Winston Wells

Wichita Falls, Texas Tornado

View looking southwest at the approaching tornado northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas. © Winston Wells

   


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