Mother’s Day 1953 Tornadoes

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Posted: May 11, 2020 at 6:30 am

The Mother’s Day weather yesterday was kinda blah….rain showers here and there, and chilly temperatures!  Mother’s Day 1953 was a little more active in the weather department, take a look at the description from the National Weather Service.

May 10th, 1953 (which just happened to be Mother’s Day), 29 tornadoes occurred from Oklahoma and Arkansas northward into the Upper Mississippi River Valley. During this outbreak, four F4 tornadoes affected the area.

One F4 tornado moved northeast from northeast of Fountain City, WI to Colburn, WI (Chippewa County). This tornado or tornado family struck about a hundred farms. Eight farms were hit in Glencoe Township, northeast of Fountain City. Total damage from this tornado was $1,000,000 and it caused 10 injuries.

The second F4 tornado moved from 5 miles southwest of Chester, IA to 4 miles northeast of Chatfield, MN. Eleven farms were heavily damaged in northern Iowa before this tornado crossed into Fillmore County, MN. Twenty barns were damaged or destroyed in Minnesota and one man was killed as his barn was destroyed 1 mile southeast of Wykoff. A rural school was leveled 3 miles south of Chatfield as well. The only death occurred in Olmsted County. Six injuries occurred in Olmsted County and 2 injuries in Howard County, IA.

The third F4 tornado moved northeast and passed about 2 miles northwest of St. Charles, MN. Farms were torn up all along the track. An infant was killed (Olmsted County) and 4 other people were injured in a car that was thrown 100 feet, about 1.5 miles west of St. Charles, IA. Four more injuries occurred in a barn, and three more in another car. Hundreds of trees were snapped at Whitewater State Park. Overall this tornado killed one person (Olmsted County) and injured 11 people (6 in Olmsted and 5 in Winona Counties).

The final F4 tornado moved across Rusk, Price, and Taylor counties in Wisconsin. This storm tracked north-northeast to 7 miles north of Phillips (Price County), but the damage path was not continuous. One farmhouse was leveled and pieces of it were found 7 miles away. The tornado was most intense in Price County where F4 damage was witnessed for 12 miles. Over $150,000 worth of damage. An F3 tornado moved northeast across Clayton County, IA from 7 miles north northeast of Elkader to just northeast of Giard. Barns and silos were destroyed as the tornado struck 8 farms. At least 60 head of cattle were killed. A farmer was carried 700 feet, but suffered only minor injures. Damage estimates were $150,000.

Credit:  National Weather Service La Crosse