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.

Thank you,

Kristin
Nebraska Furniture Mart Customer Service


Hello 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.

Sincerly, Diana L. Rice

- Diana provided me with the copy of Omaha World Herald of May 7, 1975, the day after. Thanks, Diana


I 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!

When I found the link to your site, on the Mau's family site, my heart jumped a beat, and I instantly knew it must be a brand new website, as I have "combed" the internet a lot in the last year, and never come across it. I actually thought about starting a 1975 tornado website myself, simply to collect personal stories that normally would be beyond my reach, and share my enthusiasm about the disaster! Now, I don't have to -- I'll just keep my eye on yours. I was so thrilled to read those stories on there. They ring so similiar to my own family's stories. Nobody in my family tree actually saw the tornado, but they all remember being very scared that day, and realizing something was very unique in the air, as the clouds were eerily green and black. My Grandparents actually lived near 100th and Fort Streets, and they could see debris flying in the air, although a hillside blocked the view of the violent twister.

I actually have a binder filled with all the details I could find on that 1975 tornado event --ALL the details big and small (and there are some suprising ones)! I own both "Omaha 1975 Tornado Books" printed immediately after the disaster, as well as the old World Herald newspapers (my grandma's gave me them to me, as they saw my enthusiasm about that tornado, even as a young child). I'm also an artist, and with my imagination, I've actually driven artistic perspectives of that tornado, and plan on doing more, as it is hard to find that many photos. So far, I have seen 5 different views of the tornado, and your website introduced me to another new photo. Thanks for that! Also, it is funny: Last summer, I put together my own ariel path of that tornado (like you). However, I used ariels from Globexplorer.com, so it turned out very similar to the aerial map your undertaking.


Well, I've rambled on and on. I just share the same enthusaism you do, and I find it pretty cool that your so interested in a storm that hit Omaha, when you grew up in California. Take care and thanks again for starting your site. I'll definitely be a frequent visitor, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about that tornado. Like I said, I've done so much research, being practically obsessed with that storm, and I'm loaded with probably all (or most of) the info there is!

Sincerely, JEFF

- 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.

We 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.

Afterwards, we came out to the front porch and it was dark gray, raining lightly, and debris was falling from the sky. Praise God our house was not touched except for the porch swing in the backyard. The neighbors on either side lost their garages. Our neighbors two blocks away on 70th were not so fortunate. There was nothing left but foundations and basements.

In the days that followed, we found $20 & $50 bills from the Ralston Bank, game pieces from Monopoly, photos, bits and pieces of peoples property strewn everywhere. Baker's was gone, my old junior high, Lewis & Clark was heavily damaged, it was a strange new world.

Thank you for the opportunity to share the scariest moment in my life, up until suffering through Hurricane Wilma in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Sincerely,
Sally J. Pflug


Hi Scott,

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.

Karen Miller


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
Former Omaha Resident