National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 April 11, 1965, Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak


Palm Sunday Graphic


On Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, Indiana was one of six Midwest states to be raked by deadly tornadoes. In all, 47 tornadoes killed 271 people and injured over 1,500. This was the fourth deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history and the deadliest of all Indiana outbreaks.

In Indiana, 137 people were killed and over 1,200 injured by ten tornadoes during the late afternoon and evening hours that day.

One of the most violent tornadoes occurred at Midway Trailer Court near Goshen. A second tornado struck minutes later near Goshen at Rainbow Lake. Another tornado formed just south of South Bend and tracked to just south of Elkhart. This tornado killed 45 in the town of Dunlap and 33 of those killed were at a trailer park. Other Northern Indiana locations hit by tornadoes included Lapaz, Koontz Lake, Wyatt, Wakarusa and Wanatah.

Massive double-funnel tornado near Dunlap, Indiana between Goshen and Elkhart. Photo courtesy of Paul Huffman of the Elkhart Truth 

Lyndon Johnson looks at devastation at Dunlap

President Lyndon Johnson looks through the rubble at Dunlap. UPI Telephoto

At least four tornadoes swept through Central Indiana during the evening between Indianapolis, Lafayette and Fort Wayne. One touched down just southeast of Lafayette and moved to near Moran. Another formed near Middlefork, destroyed much of Russiaville and Alto and passed across the southern part of Kokomo, through Greentown, and  into southern parts of Marion before dissipating near Arcana. The tornado reformed near Roll and passed through Berne before leaving Indiana. Multiple tornadoes were seen near Kokomo, Marion and Berne.

Aerial view of Greentown, Indiana - Photo Courtesy of the Kokomo Morning Times

Killer Tornado as it moved across Alto and toward the Kokomo Morning Times building - Photo courtesy of the Kokomo Morning Times


The last tornado struck just southeast of Crawfordsville moved north of Lebanon and through Sheridan before it lifted between Cicero and Arcadia.

A 13 year old girl tends to her injured cow in the aftermath of a tornado that moved through the girl's farm near Arcadia - UPI Telephoto


All these tornadoes occurred during the late afternoon and early evening on a balmy Palm Sunday. Tornado Watches or Tornado Forecasts as they were called at the time were out well in advance. Tornado warnings were also considered excellent. Many people did not receive the warnings, because they were outside.

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