Twin funnels on Palm Sunday
Image ID: wea00217, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Collection Location: Elkhart, Indiana, Photo Date: 1965 April 11, Photographer: Mr. Paul Huffman
Friends, this is significant to me because I was in this storm, along with my family!! I wasn't even 3 years old, but I remember it very clearly! Our house was about 6 miles southwest of this spot (indicated by red arrow), and luckily we escaped injury and severe property damage.
I remember the eerie yellow-green appearance of the sky, because I was in charge of "helping" daddy keep watch for the funnel(s). Suddenly he told us all to get down to the basement as he went around opening windows (something about windows breaking from the air pressure difference, I don't think they even tell you to do that any more). So my primary concern heading downstairs was the cat and her new kittens. She raced past me with one in her mouth, but left the other one upstairs. It was getting really windy and loud, and I remember my ears popping. Dad came downstairs, and I started bawling about the other kitten, so he went back up and got it. Then I remember him watching out the small basement window, and my older sister asking to see. (She was 11). So he lifted her to see, but she just wanted right back down and ran to mom. Not to be outdone, I bawled until he lifted me too...what a scary sight! I remember crying big time, then we all crouched down under an old desk in the corner of the basement. The house shook, the noise was incredible, and you couldn't hear a thing over the din. Then nothing. Mom made dad wait longer than he wanted to, then he went up to make sure the coast was clear. We all came up, and there was debris and branches everywhere! Next we did the stupidest thing-piled in the car to drive around and see if our neighbors needed help. This may not sound wrong, but on Palm Sunday 1965 in northern Indiana (as well as Ohio and Michigan) there were 47 tornadoes that killed 271 people, and many were injured looking at damage from one storm as another formed and caught them unaware. We were lucky in that respect, and none of our neighbors were seriously injured, but a dairy farm got wiped out (except for a silo), and there were dead cows everywhere...even up in trees! I'm still amazed at how much I remember from such a young age, but then again the memories resurfaced frequently in nightmares for many years, so it would be hard to forget! What a "blast from the past" for my Friday!