Path length: 39.3 miles
Width: 200 yards
County: Lamb, Hale
There are two tornadoes on the record books for June 2, 1965: An F1 in Pocahontas County, IA and a major F4 in Lamb and Hale Counties in Texas. We look in depth at the F4 event in this summary.
During the late evening, the tornado began near Spade in Lamb County. It moved northeast passing 2 miles East of Cotton Center and then right into Hale Center. The tornado path ends northeast of the Hale County Airport.
Seven buildings were completely destroyed in the Hale Center business district. All houses on one entire block of Fifth Street in the city was leveled. Many injuries occurred at a church service. 100+ automobiles were heavily damaged at the Fisher Ford Sales Company.
Ironically, 2 smaller tornadoes, both rated F1 occurred near Hale Center on June 2 in 1974. Per Storm Data, “Tornado caused extensive damage to a farmhouse and to farm equipment.”
Details from Storm Data
Four persons were killed and 76 injured as a result of a tornado that cut a 200 yard path through Hale Center, striking the city of 2,500 persons about 9:25pm. One of the deaths and five of the injuries occurred when the tornado completely demolished two farm homes two mies east of the Cotton Center community, southwest of Hale Center. Total property damage was estimated at $8 million.
The tornado was first observed near Spade in Lamb County about 9:00pm. The business section of Hale Center was hardest hit with seven buildings completely destroyed. Twenty-five other business buildings were damaged seriously. Damage in the residential areas covered ten city blocks.
The American Red Cross reported 66 homes in Cotton Center and Hale Center were destroyed, 35 others suffered major damage and 56 minor damage. 55 other buildings also had damage. All houses on one entire block of fifth Street in Hale Center were obliterated.
A large number of the injuries resulted when a church was demolished while services were being held. Residents, for the most part, were well aware that the tornado was coming and had taken shelter. More than 100 automobiles, most of them 1965 models, were heavily damaged or destroyed at the Fisher Ford Sales Company. The tornado moved from southwest to northeast.
We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the June 1965 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:
- SPC/NCDC have a 39.3 mile path length.
- Storm Data lists a 40 miles path.
- Grazulis has a 34 mile path.
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