On May 11th, 1953, the deadliest tornado in Texas struck downtown Waco. The twister was rated F5, the highest on the Fujita Scale which ranks tornadoes based on wind speed and damage. It killed 114 people, injuring 597.
The tornado touched down around 4:10 pm southwest of Waco, near the town of Lorena in McLennan County. After destroying a home north of Lorena, the tornado moved north-northeast toward Waco.
The tornado was approximately one-third of a mile wide and wreaked havoc through the downtown area. Eyewitness reports indicated very heavy rain falling at the time of the tornado, making it difficult for people in downtown Waco to see the twister coming and take appropriate action.
The F5 twister destroyed over 600 homes and businesses and damaged over 1000, including the Dr. Pepper bottling plant, which still stands today. 2000 vehicles also sustained damage. Monetary damages topped $41 million in 1953, equating to over $310 million in 2006 dollars.
As we continue through severe weather season, stay weather alert and have a plan in place in the event severe weather pays your neighborhood a visit. You can depend on the First Alert 25 Weather Team to keep you ahead of the storms as they develop.
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