THE WACO TORNADO Axl Smith's Catastrophic Event Research Project

The devastation immediately following the tornado.

The Waco Tornado of 1953 was a terrifying F5 twister that touched downtown Waco on Mothers Day (May 11th) mid afternoon. This took the people leaving work by surprise and stranded in the traffic. It resulted in a terrible number of 114 left dead and almost 600 people injured making it the deadliest tornado in Texas history.

Aerial view of Waco

This tornado occurred because of warm moist air from the gulf and cool dry air from the north colliding and making an instability in the atmosphere. These weather conditions were perfect creating this giant catastrophe that destroyed the small city of Waco. Plants were uprooted, objects and dirt were thrown, and buildings toppled because of this cyclone. The soil remained but it was littered with the remnants of the wreckage. These fierce winds were a form of weathering. The breeze moved the materials that were left like sand away from Waco and deposited the when the wind died down.

While dirt might have flown away and wreckage littered the ground this tornado only caused a secondary succession because the dirt remained. Most people were just leaving work as the tornado hit and were not prepared. The people were taken by surprise as they scurried for shelter from flying debris and other hazards. The downtown office buildings were not sturdy enough for the impact so most of them toppled. This tornado was a major factor in developing the nationwide severe weather warning system.

Cameron park in Waco Texas (climax community)

There was much loss economically and physically including:

  • $41.2 million in property damage
  • 196 businesses and factories were destroyed
  • 217 businesses sustained major damage
  • 179 businesses sustained minor damage
  • 150 homes were destroyed
  • 250 homes sustained major damage
  • 450 homes sustained lesser damage
  • Over 2000 cars were damaged or destroyed

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