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April 11, 1965: Palm Sunday Tornadoes

Link to enlarged image.A wide outbreak of 37 tornadoes killed 256 people, mostly in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana on Palm Sunday 1965. This was deadliest tornado outbreak in 33 years in the United States and has been exceeded since only by the April 1974 outbreak. The 55 people killed in Ohio on April 11, 1965, made this the second deadliest tornado day in Ohio history, after the 1924 Lorain Tornado. The only tornado on April 11 to touch down in a large city hit Toledo at about 9:30 PM. It cut a six-mile long path across the northern edge of Toledo. A bus on Interstate 75 was lifted and smashed upside down, killing five occupants. Homes were leveled, swept clean to their foundations, and debris scattered hundreds of yards by this F-4 tornado. Eight people were killed in their homes. A family of violent tornadoes crossed the state from the Indiana line in Mercer County to suburban Cleveland. Two people were killed in Mercer County and 13 more near Lima. The next tornado destroyed several homes and killed one person in Seneca County. The last tornado in this family touched down southwest of Oberlin and traveled to Strongsville. Every building in the community of Pittsfield was leveled and nine people were killed. Eight more people were killed later along this path. A tornado swept for 20 miles across Shelby County killing 3 people and derailing a train. Three more were killed in northern Delaware County. Some people trapped in wreckage or blown from their homes into fields were not found for hours. Electric and telephone failures hampered communication Sunday night and Monday, and debris on roads slowed the rescue effort.


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