Readers' Comments & Event Recollections
I want to thank some of the vistors to the site who have emailed me with their great comments.
I did see your website and I must say that it is great both in presentation and also in subject material as I commend you for doing such an act when most do not even recognize this anniversary.
I have just stumbled on your site. I have lived here at corner of 70th
Street and Grant Street in Omaha, Nebraska for about 11 years and have
heard many stories of the tornado of 1975 from the oldtimers, that were
here, who live on either side on me. I was a 13 year old at the time of
the tornado and lived more north east of where the tornado ended . My
children and I have a keen facination of the history and event as we now
live in the area. I have an entire Omaha World Herald newspaper dated
May 7, 1975 that I bought at an estate sale about 5 years ago. This site
was very informative. I can see my house as it was then from the Mau's
back yard. As you can imagine, I still come across glass shards and metal
pieces when I am gardening. I even came across a blond wig unearthed while
planting tomatoes a few years ago and I thought about that horrible time
in this nieghbourhood's history. The people here are a strong group and
the people on either side of me are near and dear to me (Petersons to
the north and Schultes across the street to the south). As I said, we
have shared many conversations over the fence. Thank you for your site.
What a tribute.
was so estatic to come across your 1975 tornado website! I have researched
that tornado for years, as I grew up in Omaha, and I was born in 1975
(later in the year). In fact, I would easily say that I am obsessed with
that very storm, as I've always tracked tornadoes, and of course I am
intriqued that such a huge, powerful tornado hit my hometown. I mean,
in the last 30 years, hardly a roof has been blown off in town by the
weather, so a disaster like that is rare and awesome. There is actually
a new restaurant out in west Omaha (near 180th and Center) that is run
by a local family, and the restaurant is filled with huge, historic black
and white photos of Omaha, including a 1975 tornado one. It is awesome!
- Jeff has provided me the report Black Tuesday that he has been compiling for some time. Thanks, Jeff
I was 16 and lived on 68th street between Blondo & Maple. My Mom worked at Baker's on 72nd & Blondo. The weather was very strange that day and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in the afternoon. Being an invincible 16 year old, I wanted to borrow her car to watch the Benson High baseball game. In her wisdom, she wouldn't let me.
were all home and the sirens were going off, the radio was announcing
where the tornado was and where it was going. My Dad - who also thought
he was untouchable - didn't think anything of the warnings. We were standing
on the back porch and saw this huge black funnel cloud and the roaring
of the train engines. He said, "jeepers creepers (not in that language)
and we headed for the basement. I ran back upstairs to get my cat and
diary. We all sat closely together in the corner of the basement until
the shrieking stopped.
I was just on wikipedia trying to see when the date was of the Omaha tornado. At the bottom of the wiki is your website link. Your website brought back so many memories of that time period. I was a teenage going to Lewis & Clark junior high at that time but was at home when the tornado hit. I lived at 61st and Franklin St. and our family all went to the basement when the warning sirens went off. I remember how scared my mom and sister were and I was too. From the basement little window I could see how dark it had gotten and then it got really noisy, like a train was coming. I could see the wind racing all kinds of debris by the window and could hear debris hitting the house. We all crouched down and covered our heads and us kids were crying. After a few minutes it got quite outside and they sky lightened up some. We went outside in the yard and there was all kinds of debris in our yard, like peoples' letters and pieces furniture and broken wood and insulation. I found out the next day that my school, Lewis and Clark, had been hit and one wing of the building was completely gone. We got out of school for two weeks and some of us volunteered to help cleanup on the city cleanup crews. We saw alot of devastated homes and helped recover and cleanup yards. The city used I never knew until I saw your website that it was a category 4 tornado, it's exact path, or the total cost of the devastation. To this day, I get uneasy when I see dark clouds in the sky. Thank you for making this website and all the research to bring those stories and pictures together. I will show the website to my mom and sisters.
Found your website recently so I thought I would reply to you with comments. I was 13 years old then. Our family "Smith" lived on 71st Street between Grant and Lake Streets. That afternoon we heard reports of a Tornado on the ground. We were all curious about what's going on. My mom and I were standing in the doorway of our home. The sky was like a really strange green and yellow color. It was also so quiet, no birds, no wind, no nothing. At about the same time we heard the sirens going off. The debris started hitting all around the house. My mom yelled "get to the basement"!! Me and my mom and older sister ran for the basement. We got under a picnic table. We also grabbed a mattress from a roll away bed and put it in front of us. The noise was definitely very loud. The small windows in the basement shook then all popped out. After the noise stopped we went to look outside. Before getting outside we noticed that a 2x4 chunk of wood had gone through the roof, through the ceiling and into our refrigerator we had just run past. Good thing no one was standing there!! I think thousands of people did the same thing. My sister started to cry because of the mess every where. We had the Baker's super market sign wrapped up in a tree. Baker's was like close to a mile away. I thought right away, how in the heck did that happen? My father was at work that day in downtown at the Union Pacific. I was thinking about how is he going to get home? The streets were all closed, no power. I remember on the radio the last song that was on before the warning was Alice Cooper / Welcome to my Nightmare, strange stuff. A couple days later my sister Wanda Smith went exploring the neighborhood with a friend, Linda Gomez. The photo can be found on "Cindy's Photos." She is in that famous photo of the Mau residence where the cars went into the basement 70th. Linda Gomez is in the striped shirt facing away, my sister is in a long sleeve shirt. One of my friends lived on Maple Street five house's East of the 400 Gas Station. Our house was pretty much in good shape. We were lucky, the address was 2338 N. 71st. The tornado went in front of the house but, the back of the house had been drilled with thick mud and someone's silverware set!! How do you explain that? We had a very large tree fall on top of the house. It wasn't too long and soon the National Guard was on every corner. We found bank statements and all kinds of stuff from 15 miles away. We had one of those huge old TV sets near the garage. My dad was going to get rid of it. The screen was smashed in due to a squirrel getting blown into it. Poor guy. The Red Cross trucks were a life saver! I remember how everyone pulled together to help. That poor lady who was killed off of Grant Street, she was deaf and didn't hear the sirens. One more block to the West and we would have been in really bad shape.
Scott A Smith