Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cabot... March 29th, 1976. Historic Tornado Pictures

I'll have more on the active weather expected next week.  Right now, all the models are all over the place.  Even the Euro is flip flopping.  I still believe there will be significant storm system next week, but its impacts on Arkansas are just not known at this time.  This is typical since it's in the long range still.  I think the water will be less muddy this weekend and we'll see a clearer picture.

This morning when I looked at my email, I received a very interesting message from Meteorologist John Robinson at the National Weather Service Office in North Little Rock.  They are undergoing some remodeling so there's a little "spring cleaning" in fall.

John found some incredible pictures from the Cabot tornado on March 29th, 1976.  This was devastating and made a major impact on that community.  Here's the email I received from John followed by the weather map that day, then the historic pictures.

"In the process of our office remodeling, I came across a series of photos of the Cabot tornado, which occurred on the afternoon of March 29, 1976. (This was the first time I ever got to go look at tornado damage; I'm the last still-employed NWS employee at this office that was here when this tornado occurred.)
The photos were taken from the control tower at Little Rock Air Force Base.
The tornado was rated F3.  It killed five and injured 64."
Here's the surface chart on March 29th, 1976.  You can see a warm front is draped across northern Arkansas with a cold front in OK and TX.  This puts most of the state in the warm and unstable sector of the storm system.
The large trough of low pressure over the western U.S. with a southwesterly wind flow aloft over the mid south is a favorable set up for unsettled weather.  There's a wave of upper level energy located over northern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle.  This kicked out to the northeast and helped initiate thunderstorm development that day.


Anonymous said...

There was twin twisters; the largest hit Cabot causing great damage and several dead and the second one swept towards Old Austin leaving destruction from Cabot to Old Austin. The skies were black and angry that day just before the storms hit. My children were in school that day but the tornado lifted over the school saving them. All streets into Cabot were blocked with debree and we couldn't get in to get to our children. It happened in the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

There was only one tornado. Old Austin is northeast of Cabot. The tornado touched down near Dreamline Mfg and destroyed two trailer parks before hitting the downtown area tracking along the railroad tracks. The tornado did not lift over the school but tracked down the tracks towards Audrey's on the end of first street.

Shade said...

I was in school at the time it hit at approximately 3:18 pm. The schools let out at 3:20. If the storm had hit just 5 minutes later it would have been one of the deadliest tornados in history as there were about 3000 kids in the school at that time. I was 12 years old. I can still remember the sound it made and the teachers in the halls telling us to keep our heads down. I remember hearing the huge metal doors of the school blowing open and banging. I will never forget it.

Anonymous said...

I too was in the school that day, we were all hearded off of the school bus into the high school cafeteria, and told to get under the tables. Thankfully it picked up just before the school of we all in that building would have looked like something from a meat grinder.... the cafeteria main walls were mostly glass...

Eileen said...

It was the day before my 5th birthday. My dad came home from work and picked up my brother and me from Ding Dong Kampus in Cabot. He stepped out on the back patio from our dining room with his movie camera. When he ran out of film he took still photos. We went back to Ding Dong after to check on everyone. I remember seeing the dirt clods on the fiberglass awning out front. It is the first footage of a multiple vortex tornado.

Steve said...

There was 2 tornadoes as I saw them both after they had crossed over the school. I will always remember looking out and seeing them where my parent's house was at.

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