1980-06-03: Grand Island, NE

Jul 26, 2009
15
0
0
Yes Doug, Thayer County has been fairly quiet this year, and I'd kind of like to keep it that way!! I don't remember the GI storms either, as I would have just turned 4. I do recall reading Ivy Ruckman's book many times in jr high and high school. So I learned a lot about that storm through the story, and the gitwisters.com website. Tornado Hill is kind of a site to see if you ever get up that way.
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,092
632
21
Colorado
The Grand Island newspaper posted this article in memory of the event and those who did not survive yesterday on their website: http://bit.ly/brWy06

It was pretty much a recap of what happened, but worth reading if you are interested in what happened (Lonnie?!?). I also found this write up on the NWS site for Grand Island and Hastings. Again, nothing new as far as findings and research are concerned, just something to take you down memory lane for those who like following and remembering this event: http://bit.ly/d4pHgp
 
Interesting reading. I was stationed at Air Force Global Weather Central at Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska, at the time of the tornadoes. Some time later I was able to attend an AMS meeting in Omaha where Ted Fujita was the guest speaker and presented a slide show of his investigation of the Grand Island tornadoes. It was a very interesting presentation.
 
Apr 12, 2011
40
15
11
Bartlesville, OK
I have enjoyed reading more about this event. It was brought back to my mind this evening by, of all things, noticing that my little toddler's bath water was going down the drain anticyclonically. I grew up in Minden and was 3 at the time of the event, so I have no personal recollection beyond the stories of my brother who traveled with my dad to help out to aid the recovery and those of my cousins who lived on the north edge of Hastings and said it was the scariest storm event they ever witnessed even though it didn't affect them directly.

When I was in college, I did a bit of research work into the meteorological setups of the NW-flow supercells in central Nebraska. During that research, I visited the NWS office in Hastings to pick their brains and their archives over the event. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the weather bureau radio transcript from that night. It is riveting to read.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nidj584j5ej2sd1

I hope that you all enjoy reading it.

Brian
 
Oct 25, 2004
570
111
11
65
Tucson, Arizona
Brian, thanks so very much for posting the NWS / Grand Island / Norfolk / Alliance / Hastings / Omaha transcripts of this incredible event. I was bored tonite and decided to surf on into StormTrack to see if there was anything that was interesting to check out. Wow! Talk about ending my boredom quickly....those 14 pages were absolutely riveting!! It's hard to believe that this event is over 30 yrs. old now. Like I said in a previous post, one of my cousins was living in G.I at the time. She took shelter in some building that just got narrowly missed by one of those tornadoes. She told me..."They really DO sound like trains!"
While reading this transcript, one thing that stuck out to me was how well all these guys from the various weather agencies throughout Nebraska worked together. For those that haven't read this yet, Grand Island was bombarded by at least 8 tornadoes, some of them killers, in one evening. The crew from the NWS in Grand Island (NWS Grand Island is now actually just north of Hastings, Nebraska....about a half-hour south of Grand Island), which was very near the airport, had to evacuate their stations to go underground at least twice during this event. During these evacuations, it was amazing how flawlessly the surrounding NWS offices picked up the slack and continued manning the various radar views as well as verbally issuing tornado warnings throughout the central and east central portions of the state. I don't even work for the NWS, and just reading this account made me proud as hell for the job all these offices did under incredibly stressful conditions. But, we Nebraskans, that's just an everyday way of life for us...haha. My thanks once again for posting these transcripts, Brian.
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,092
632
21
Colorado
Nothing major to add to the thread, but today is the 35 year anniversary of the "night of terror".

http://www.theindependent.com/news/...776-09a2-11e5-9b68-ab41df831526.html?mode=jqm

If you've read this thread before you would understand the profound impact this had on me, after I had just graduated from high school. This event and witnessing a tornado hit my grand parents farm in Minden, NE, when I was 5 years old sealed my fate and interest in severe weather.
 
Apr 5, 2010
223
134
11
Omaha, Nebraska
www.facebook.com
I think it's both fitting and eerie that on the 35th anniversary of one of the most insane happenings in the history of weather, that the same area is targeted again today.

Stationary fronts, like the one that night, insane 6000+ capes, and localized vorticity along stationary boundaries enhanced by slow moving cells due to lack of upper level support, are what I consider to be the more 'classic' Nebraska Tornadoes. I think Pilger, NE last year was a comparable event, with perhaps not the exact same synoptic conditions, but pretty close. I made a forecast that day for here on Stormtrack, front just hanging around, 6000 cape, bad upper level support, but low level boundaries made it happen, just like in GI. It's important for people to realize that there are multiple modes of high-probability, high threat tornadic scenarios, not just classic southern plains or deep south modes. And that our lazy stationary front can be just as active.
 

Virginia H.

Enthusiast
Nov 29, 2012
2
0
1
I have enjoyed reading more about this event. It was brought back to my mind this evening by, of all things, noticing that my little toddler's bath water was going down the drain anticyclonically. I grew up in Minden and was 3 at the time of the event, so I have no personal recollection beyond the stories of my brother who traveled with my dad to help out to aid the recovery and those of my cousins who lived on the north edge of Hastings and said it was the scariest storm event they ever witnessed even though it didn't affect them directly.

When I was in college, I did a bit of research work into the meteorological setups of the NW-flow supercells in central Nebraska. During that research, I visited the NWS office in Hastings to pick their brains and their archives over the event. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the weather bureau radio transcript from that night. It is riveting to read.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nidj584j5ej2sd1

I hope that you all enjoy reading it.

Brian
I have enjoyed reading more about this event. It was brought back to my mind this evening by, of all things, noticing that my little toddler's bath water was going down the drain anticyclonically. I grew up in Minden and was 3 at the time of the event, so I have no personal recollection beyond the stories of my brother who traveled with my dad to help out to aid the recovery and those of my cousins who lived on the north edge of Hastings and said it was the scariest storm event they ever witnessed even though it didn't affect them directly.

When I was in college, I did a bit of research work into the meteorological setups of the NW-flow supercells in central Nebraska. During that research, I visited the NWS office in Hastings to pick their brains and their archives over the event. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the weather bureau radio transcript from that night. It is riveting to read.

http://www.mediafire.com/?nidj584j5ej2sd1

I hope that you all enjoy reading it.

Brian
Hello Brian! I've never posted on StormTrack before so please forgive me if I'm not doing this correctly. I've enjoyed reading through this thread about the 1980 Grand Island Nebraska event. I'm very interested in reading the transcript referenced above but the MediaFire link is no longer active. Do you still have it or is it available anywhere else? Thanks much!
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,092
632
21
Colorado
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Grand Island event. There is a story in the local newspaper found here with a neat logo at the top. Arrow right to image 7 to view the logo I just mentioned. This event had such an impact on me and it’s really hard to believe it was 40 years ago today. I was fresh out of high school when it happened so if you’re good at math you can easily guess how old I am now!! As I find content I’ll probably just edit this post but am hoping the stalwarts of this thread help me out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JamesCaruso
Oct 25, 2004
570
111
11
65
Tucson, Arizona
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Grand Island event. There is a story in the local newspaper found here with a neat logo at the top. Arrow right to image 7 to view the logo I just mentioned. This event had such an impact on me and it’s really hard to believe it was 40 years ago today. I was fresh out of high school when it happened so if you’re good at math you can easily guess how old I am now!! As I find content I’ll probably just edit this post but an hoping the stalwarts of this thread help me out.
Hi Mark.....I didn't realize you had Minden roots! One of my favorite places to visit on "blue sky non-chase days" when in my native Nebraska in Harold Warp's unreal museum. I could spend days on end there....taking it all in. You mentioned Cozad....my cousin who grew up on a farm near Albion, whom I am very close with, her husband has been a dentist in Cozad for years and years. He may have retired last year....or cut way back in his work. His last name is Kugler....a great guy. Hey....I'm an ebay freak and am on that site nightly. Earlier this year I bought either THE next day's G.I. Independent paper (day after tornado) or it's the supplement they printed later. I have it buried away in my "tornado box" of all things tornadic...which is stuffed wayyyy to full. Brother....I'll GIVE it to you if you would like it. Let me know if you do. Sounds like you are the type of guy that should have such a historic publication, and it would please me to let you have it. joel ewing
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,092
632
21
Colorado
You should keep that Joel because of the historical significance. I saw the damage firsthand and the images are engrained in my head forever. Where I actually left from on June 4th, 1980, was a farm south of Darr Road that sold Behlen farm products. I was headed to the Behlen factory in Columbus to pick up sheet metal and other items for quonsets, grain tanks, and machine sheds, so I was in a 4WD dually pickup with a long trailer behind it. It wasn't easy navigating neighborhoods but I made it work. On the way there the National Guard was on the west side of GI directing traffic away from the damaged areas. On the way home there was no one on the east side so I was able to head anywhere I wanted to go. I wound up in a neighborhood about 3 blocks north of the bowling alley right on South Locust Street. Incredible damage to say the least. Thanks for sharing what you have in remembrance of this event.
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,092
632
21
Colorado
Even on those old WSR-57s you could clearly see the hook echo as plain as day. The LLJ plays such a huge role in fueling those nocturnal events in the central plains during the late Spring, plus the DP was 73 in GI so the conditions were ripe for a stationary SC to sit and churn out one tornado after another. The 700 mb shortwave coming out of CO, an old outflow boundary, plus that warm front allowed for this event to occur. It would be interesting to find the old research papers for this and spend some time reading through them.
 
Oct 25, 2004
570
111
11
65
Tucson, Arizona
You should keep that Joel because of the historical significance. I saw the damage firsthand and the images are engrained in my head forever. Where I actually left from on June 4th, 1980, was a farm south of Darr Road that sold Behlen farm products. I was headed to the Behlen factory in Columbus to pick up sheet metal and other items for quonsets, grain tanks, and machine sheds, so I was in a 4WD dually pickup with a long trailer behind it. It wasn't easy navigating neighborhoods but I made it work. On the way there the National Guard was on the west side of GI directing traffic away from the damaged areas. On the way home there was no one on the east side so I was able to head anywhere I wanted to go. I wound up in a neighborhood about 3 blocks north of the bowling alley right on South Locust Street. Incredible damage to say the least. Thanks for sharing what you have in remembrance of this event.
Sorry for the late response Mark, I've been out of town until today (6-12) and was not online at all. Well, if you change your mind, I'd be pleased to give it to you. I nabbed it off of ebay because I knew of the historical significance of it's publication....and it's literally stuffed away in my "tornado box" not doing anybody any good. I just wanted to make sure SOMEBODY was able to get it off of ebay while it was available. It's in remarkable shape. Hard as heck for me to fathom that it's been FORTY YEARS now. Nahhhh....say it ain't so! Anyhow....really....if you change your mind and would like it....just tug on my coat tail and I'll get it right to you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mark Blue