SPC Stats

Path length: 25 miles

Width:  150 yards

Fatalities:  4

Injuries:  84

Rating:  F4

County:  Pottawatomie, Lincoln, Okfuskee

The SPC database shows two tornadoes on October 5, 1970.  Both were in Oklahoma.  The first was an F2 that crossed through Cleveland and Pottawatomie Counties.  The second was a devastating F4.  It had a skipping 25 mile path and began over Shawnee in Pottawatomie County.  Per Storm Data, “it dipped near the center of town and moved toward the northeast.” 157 businesses, 564 residential homes, 12 public buildings, 10 churches and 5 schools were damaged at Shawnee.  There were 80 injuries in the town and 4 fatalities.  Below is a newspaper article about those who died: 

The tornado also hit the SW section of Prague.  4 were injured here.  14 homes and 1 business were damaged.  The tornado lifted 2 miles north of Paden, OK.

Storm Data Entry

A tornado formed over Shawnee, in Pottawatomie County, dipped down near the center of town and moved toward the northeast.  The tornado continued northeast, crossing Interstate 40 about 6 1/2 miles northeast of Shawnee.  It then lifted, but came down again 3 1/2 miles southwest of Prague in Lincoln County.  The tornado continued through the southwestern section of Prague and lifted 2 miles north of Paden in Okfuskee County.  Four persons were killed and another 80 injured at Shawnee.  At Prague, four persons were injured.  At Shawnee, the storm damaged 157 business establishments, 564 residential homes, 12 public buildings, 10 churches, and 5 schools.  At Prague, 14 homes and 1 business establishment were damaged.  After the tornado passed through Shawnee, hailstones of various shapes and sizes were reported to have fallen, but caused no damage.  Some of the hailstones were reported as being of baseball size and soft like snow.  Others were rectangular in shape.  At Prague, observers reported it became almost as dark as night as the storm approached, and there was a loud roaring sound as it struck the town.  Heavy rain accompanied the tornado.  Lightning was not unusually severe.

Tornado Path

Click map to enlarge.

The path in black shows the SPC and NCDC coordinates:  

Segment 1:  Start: 35.33 / -96.93      End: 35.47 / -96.72

Segment 2:  Start: 35.47 / -96.72      End: 35.52 / -96.62

Segment 3:  Start: 35.52 / -96.62      End: 35.53 / -96.57

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

Newspaper Clippings


We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the October 1970 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:


  • SPC/NCDC have a 150 yard width.
  • Storm Data gives a range of widths from 100-200 yards.
  • Grazulis has a width of 200 yards.


      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      October 1970 Storm Data Publication


      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1120.

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