Woodward, OK Tornado, Apr 1947

220 Blocks of Twisted Wreckage in Woodward, Oklahoma April 1947 Ford Garage After Tornado at Woodward, Oklahoma 1947 Woodward, Oklahoma Tornado Wreckage, April 1947

1,305 Persons Injured in Panhandle Tornado

Hardest hit was Woodward, Okla., where 85 were known dead and 1,000 injured.....

Fires Rage Uncontrolled
At least 5,000 persons were homeless. Housing center were set up to find them emergency shelter.

Damage was estimated in the millions of dollars. In Woodward along 100 blocks of building were leveled. Fires broke out amid the rubble and were uncontrolled for several hours when water supplies failed. Torrential rains finally extinguished them.

Communications were difficult, in many cases impossible except by courier. And the couriers themselves had to contend with blocked streets and roads -- blocked both with debris from the storm and with thousands of the curious who began arriving even before relief crews could speed to the scene.

In makeshift morgues, set up to collect the bodies, survivors made their pitiful rounds, seeking to identify friends or relatives. Their task was made more difficult by the ferocity of the storm, which mutilated many of the bodies beyond recognition.

Thirty-One Missing
As darkness fell, a dozen bodies still were unidentified and townfolk peered at them by candlelight in vain attempts at recognition.

Woodward's information center reported thirty-one persons missing. Typical of the utterly lost feeling of many of the survivors was that two of the brothers, Frankie and Billy Chill.

"Our mother and four brothers are missing," they said.

Continued