TERRIBLE TUESDAY REMEMBERED: Chief Met. from '79 to Join Us Live - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

TERRIBLE TUESDAY REMEMBERED: Chief Met. from '79 to Join Us Live

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Wednesday, April 10, marks 35 years since tornadoes ravaged Texoma. The Chief Meteorologist for Newschannel 6 at the time, Rich Segal, will join us live tonight on Newschannel 6 at 6. He will share his memories from that tragic day, and answer questions about the event that scarred Texoma.  

The twisters killed 56 people, injured more than 1,000 and destroyed hundreds of businesses and homes. 

The 1979 disaster known as "Terrible Tuesday," brings a sense of mourning and remembrance every year to residents of the impacted cities, including the hardest hit: Lawton, Oklahoma, Vernon, Texas, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Witnesses say nothing about the weather that day seemed out of the ordinary, until that afternoon when an intense storm system across southeastern Colorado carried warm, moist air northward into the Red River Valley. By then, a new storm developed near Childress and raced northeastward, quickly erupting into three large, long-tracked, violent tornadoes.

Around 3:55 p.m., the first of three large supercell storms developed south of Vernon, producing an EF4 tornado with winds over 150mph. It killed eleven people and caused millions of dollars in damage. That same tornado moved northward into Oklahoma, killing three people in Lawton around 5 p.m..

A second powerful supercell storm produced an EF2 tornado, with winds more than 100mph, that stayed on the ground for 60 miles. This storm caused the least amount of destruction because it mainly stayed over open farm land. It did, however, swipe Harrold, Texas and Grandfield, Oklahoma causing destruction.

The third tornado was the deadliest, coming to life in Baylor county, where it struck Seymour, Texas, and moved into Wichita Falls. The EF4 tornado first struck Memorial Stadium, then moved up Southwest Parkway, with Sikes Senter Mall next in line. The tornado proceeded northeastward eventually crossing Jacksboro Highway before moving out of the city leaving 41 people dead. Most of the people killed were in their cars, trying to escape the cataclysmic 170mph winds. The tornado was nearly a mile wide, making this one of the largest tornadoes ever recorded.