A Tornado Warning System: Its Functioning on Palm Sunday in Indiana

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Disaster Research Center
On Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, a total of thirty-seven separate tornadoes touched down in six midwestern states killing two hundred and sixty-six persons, destroying or damaging over ten thousand buildings and causing over two hundred million dollars in property damage. This, the worst tornado disaster in forty years, swept through Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Did the residents of these areas have any alert or warning of the tornadoes? If not, why not? If they were alerted or warned, why were the casualty figures so high? These were some of the many questions asked after the disaster, This report does not attempt to answer all such questions restricts itself to some observations on certain aspects of the warning operative in the state of Indiana that fateful day. More specifically, we will describe how information pertaining to the imminence of tornadoes in northern Indiana flowed to and/or through certain organizations to its final destination-the general public. To what extent did organizations coordinate their alerting activities with each other ? Where did they get their information? How did "he various formal organizations define their role in the period? In what way did they go about alerting the general public of the impending danger? In other words, what were some of the factors that affected the issuing, distributing and receiving of organizational information regarding a tornado threat on Palm Sunday in northern Indiana? (We shall also briefly examine what, if anything, organizations learned from their experience that day).
Indiana, Warning, 1965 Tornadoes, Palm Sunday Disaster