April 1979 tornado outbreak map
April 1979 tornado outbreak map

Today is the 30th anniversary of the infamous Red River Tornado Outbreak. I was a 15 year old living in Lawton, Oklahoma, at the time, listening to the events of the day on FM radio. In my journal, I wrote something like, “wow, we just experienced a superstorm!” That was about 3:30 in the afternoon. The storm had, in fact, killed three people in southeast Lawton. At around 6, the giant Wichita Falls tornado hit that city.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. The weather service has a cool page about it here.

  1. I remember that day, too. It’s when I learned to respect the weather. Certainly April 10th prepared me for August 29th.

  2. I was living with my aunt and uncle in Mount Clemens Michigan at the time. When I got home from school that day, I had a letter from my mom. I was reading it while watching the evening news. She wrote that today is April 7 and the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. It’s the day that Jean Dixon predicted a tornado would destroy Mangum. So as I was reading those words Roger Mudd or somebody reported about the deadly storm that just hit SW Oklahoma and Wichita Falls, Texas. I pretty much reacted like I did the night of the homicide. I tried to process how I could be reading those words and hearing it on the news at the same time. So I grabbed my lap top and logged on to the internet (oh wait, that’s something else I think). I was totally convinced of Jean Dixon’s accuracy in predictions. It was sooo weird.

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