Fargo F5 Webpage


Jun 22, 2005
Kansas City, MO
Thought I would share this interesting webpage from NWSFGF on the infamous Fargo F5 tornado of June 20, 1957. This event of course was one studied closely by Fujita. To my knowledge it is accepted as the farthest-north recorded F5, since sources seem to differ on whether the Ft. Rice ND tornado of May 29, 1953 was an F4 or an F5.

The page contains some meteorological background, including modified proximity soundings. Over the past year or two NWSFGF has also collected a lot of first hand accounts from that day, one of them being truly heartbreaking. My aunt survived this storm as well, being only 6 blocks from the path and seeing garages flung into the air before taking shelter.

Glad to see the Fargo F5 page was updated recently... I'll have to check it out again. I'm seriously considering ordering some reproductions of the two tornado pictures.... they'd go well with the house considering it was built in 1888.
I remember having seen pics of this tornado way back when I was a kid. In fact, this was one of the first times I've seen a tornadogenesis sequence in pictures and so was interested in tornadoes this early in life.

I notice that the death toll thankfully wasn't that high compared to other F4-5 tornadoes which have struck urban areas during the 1950s. I'd have suspected that they were able to see the tornado coming from a long way off because of the flat terrain and the fact that the tornado wasn't obscured by heavy rain and hail. According to some of the accounts in the NWS site, the warnings were broadcasted by TV and radio and police going through the streets. There are no mentions of sirens having been used to warn the people (Maybe too much of a risk of being mistaken for a nuclear attack warning or just simply none in the city at the time? Remember this was during the peak of the Cold War!).


This image is from the NDSU photo collection, of course.

I've seen the tail cloud like this one below incorrectly labeled as a funnel or a tornado at least once in pics of the wall cloud associated with the Fargo tornado.


From: http://www.in-forum.com/specials/century/jan3/week18.htm

Another image of the wall cloud and tail cloud.


From: http://www.in-forum.com/specials/125th/index.cfm?page=articles2&id=41079&subsection=People