Bishop, TX & South Texas Tornado, Jun 1970

Twister Claims Small Baby, Injures 17 in South Texas

A 10-day-old baby was killed and 17 other persons suffered injuries Wednesday evening as a tornado smashed through a cluster of trailer homes near Bishop in South Texas.

The twister struck as vicious thunderstorms ranged through areas in both the north and south parts of the state and more than five inches of rain drenched a section near the Lower Texas Coast.

Swooping from a black thunderhead, the funnel cloud wrecked eight trailer houses in the Golden Acres Park, two miles east of Bishop, damaged 10 others and flipped over several cars.

John Earl Alfred Jr., born one and a half weeks ago, died as the tornado wrecked his parents’ trailers.

The injured, including parents of the dead baby, were treated at a hospital and the naval air station dispensary in neighboring Kingsville. Only six persons were kept in the hospital overnight.

Hal Boswell said the twister hit first at a farm house where he lives and then spun a quarter mile on the ground into the park where there were about 25 trailers. Flying glass cut Boswell on one arm.

“It’s surprising that more people were not hurt,” said Alice newsman Whitey Sawyer, who was among those at the scene.

Men were sent from the Kingsville naval air station to help hunt for the Alfred baby. It took them nearly five hours to find the tiny body.

Before nightfall a severe thunderstorm warning went out for residents of Wichita and Wilbarger Counties in the Red River Valley after radar detected a massive storm moving southward from Oklahoma near Electra.

Later in the evening a severe storm watch was posted for Jim Hogg County in extreme south Texas.

The alerts expired without further damage.

Flood warning went out for sections near the coast drained by the Nueces River, where the Weather Bureau reported more than five inches of rain in rural areas within a couple of hours.

Corpus Christi measured 4.72 inches of rain in seven hours. Galveston received 3.38, Beeville and Kingsville both 3.25 and Goliad 2.10. The rainfall brought Goliad’s two-day total to more than five inches.

Moisture amounts of a inch or more were gauged at numerous points.

Moderate showers continued most of the night over the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Fog moved into coastal sections before dawn, sharply reducing visibility in places.

It was hot again Tuesday nearly everywhere in the state, with afternoon temperatures climbing as high as 99 degrees at El Paso and Wichita Falls.

Abilene Reporter News, Abilene, TX 25 Jun 1970