SPC Stats

Path length: 30 miles

Width:  10 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  13

Rating:  F4

County:  Lyon

This was a bit of a challenging event to determine the exact path of this tornado and what counties and towns should be included.  

The SPC Database lists 2 tornadoes on July 7, 1955, both in Minnesota.  An F1 in Lincoln County and an F4 in Lyon County.  The F1 path length is only 0.1 miles and there is only a beginning latitude and longitude given.  The F4 path length is 30 miles and only the beginning lat/lon is given. So unfortunately I can’t create an official map with SPC coordinates.

The Climatological Data National Summary also lists 2 separate tornadoes. They state the 1st struck a mile south of Arco (Lincoln County) and the second a mile south of Hendricks (Lincoln County).  They state that the “last great destruction” was 11 miles west of Marshall (Lyon County).

Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes mentions both Lincoln and Lyon Counties and states the tornado “moved ESE from 1 mile South of Hendricks passing 2 miles North of Arco.   That would keep the entire path in Lincoln County.

I have plotted on a Google Map the towns of Hendricks, Arco and Marshall and added a point 11 miles West of Marshall.  My best guesstimate is that the tornado did track from near Hendricks in Lincoln County and ended west of Marshall.  Did this tornado impact Arco or was it a second one that caused damage there?  I am not sure.  The data is incomplete.

Regardless of all of that, this was a devastating event with a 2-year-old boy losing his life west of Marshall and several farms were leveled.  Per Grazulis, “damage reached near-F5 intensity near the end of the path.”

Details from the Climatological Data National Summary

CDNS has one listing for 2 tornadoes.  The location is Lincoln and Lyon Counties.  Here is the full summary:

2 separate tornadoes.  First tornado struck a mile south of Arco, second tornado a mile south of Hendricks.  Path of tornadoes not continuous.  Last great destruction 11 miles west of Marshall at 4:30pm;  nearly all buildings on 4 farms destroyed;  2-year old boy killed and 13 other person injured.  Heavy rain and heavy hail accompanied storm.  Adjacent counties received some wind and hail damage also.  Storm moved northeastward.

Additional Information from Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes

  • 35 farms lost buildings and some farms were called “annihilated.”
  • Seven farm houses were destroyed.
  • A car was thrown 100 yards in the air.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the July 1955 Climatological Data National Summary (CDNS) and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 30 mile path length.
  • Grazulis and CDNS have a length at 20 miles.
  • CDNS has 2 tornadoes together in their summary, so unsure if the 20 miles is for both.

Max Width:

  • Grazulis has a width of 200 yards.
  • SPC has a 10 yard width.
  • NCDC lists a 33 yard width.
  • CDNS a width of “3” – combination of both tornadoes?

Counties:

  • SPC/NCDC list Lyon only.  Note:  They only have a beginning lat/lon and that point is in Lincoln County.
  • CDNS has Lincoln and Lyon County and mentions 2 tornadoes.
  • Grazulis has Lincoln and Lyon Counties.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      July 1955 Climatological Data National Summary

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 990.

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