SPC Stats

Path length: 68 miles

Width:  880 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  4

Rating:  F4

County:  Hettinger, Grant

Only two tornadoes are listed in the Storm Prediction Center database for June 29, 1975 and they are on opposite sides of the country.  An F0 quickly hit parts of Palm Beach County, FL and an F4 (perhaps a part of a family of tornadoes) caused tremendous damage in Slope, Hettinger and Grant Counties in North Dakota.

The tornado began 4 miles west of New England.  It then moved south of Regent to west of Mott.  10 farms were destroyed, some leveled.  There was a total of 4 injuries and tragically and infant was killed. 3-month-old Roger Focht was killed and his parents were injured at their farm near Regent.  

Per an article in The Billing Gazette from July 1, 1975, Merlyn Austin who farms about a mile from the Focht Farm said all that was left were “three concrete steps that were found under the rubble in our field.”

Details from Storm Data

Tornado first sighted at 8:20pm, four miles west of New England moving slowly eastward.  At 8:35pm, a pilot reported the tornado 12 miles west of Mott continuing to move slowly eastward.  Ten farms were destroyed, 12 others damaged.  An infant was killed and four more persons injured, three of them critically, as the tornado devastated the Jacob Focht farm seven miles southeast of Regent.  Numerous cattle were killed.  Hail 1-1/2 inches in diameter fell along much of the tornado path.

Additional Info from Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes

  • Mentions this was either a massive tornado or tornado family.
  • Moved slowly ESE from 4 miles West of New England passing 4 miles South of Regent and 12 miles West of Mott.
  • All buildings were leveled on some farms.
  • Cement blocks were reportedly carried a half mile.
  • Tow farms were leveled in Grant County, south of New Leipzig and Elgin.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 46.53 / -102.97   End:  46.33 / -101.57      

The SPC Coordinates seem a bit off.  Per Grazulis and Storm Data, the tornado began west of New England.  That seems correct.  Grazulis mentions  the tornado passed south of Regent.  When you plot the SPC coordinates it takes the path north of Regent.  Storm Data mentions damage southeast of Regent.  So the plot may be shifted a bit too far to the north.

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the June 1975 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 68 mile path length.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis state a 70 mile path and Grazulis notes a “family”.

Max Width:

  • Grazulis has a width of 800 yards.
  • Remaining sources list the width at 880 yards.

Counties:

  • SPC, NCDC & Storm Data do not include Slope County in the path.
  • The starting lat/lon does begin in Slope County.
  • Grazulis includes Slope County in his entry.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      June 1975 Storm Data Publication

      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 1177.

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