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The Tornadoes of Easter 1913

The top ten killer tornadoes in Nebraska history may surprise you. Most people from Nebraska have vivid memories of the Omaha tornado on May 6, 1975, or the Grand Island tornadoes of June 3, 1980. While these tornadoes did significant amounts of damage, they are not the a part of the top ten killer tornadoes. In fact, there has been only one tornado in Nebraska history that has killed 100 or more people. Since 1953, there has not been a tornado that has killed over 10 people.

Here is a listing of the top three killer tornadoes in Nebraska history:

1. The Omaha Tornado March 23, 1913 - 101 Dead
This was the darkest day in Nebraska severe weather history. A family of at least seven tornadoes moved across Nebraska and Iowa. The Omaha tornado was the deadliest. It started in Sarpy County, ripping its way northeast through Ralston, where seven people died. The twister then cut a quarter-mile wide path across Omaha and killed 94 people, with 600 homes destroyed and over 1,100 others damaged in this tornado. Two children were killed southeast of Beebeetown in Harrison County, Iowa.

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2. The Yutan Tornado March 23, 1913 - 20 Dead
The tornado crossed the Platte River 3 miles SW of Valley. 2 people died west of Logan, IA. This tornado, also on the outbreak of March 23rd, started 1 mile southeast of Mead. The tornado moved northeast and destroyed the northern half of Yutan, killing 17 people. The tornado continued moving northeast and killed another person just outside of town. The tornado killed two other people on farms northeast of Yutan. 40 homes and 4 churches were destroyed or damaged, with losses at about $100,000. The twister crossed the Platte River southwest of Valley and continued to move northeast across Washington County. The tornado ended in Harrison County, Iowa where two people were killed in Logan.

3. The Berlin Tornado March 23, 1913 - 13 Dead
The "Berlin" tornado began 4 miles south of Douglas in southwest Otoe County. The tornado traveled northeast and leveled many farms as it passed 2 miles NW of Syracuse. The tornado hit the town of Berlin, now called Otoe, and killed 12 people and produced $250,000 worth of damage. The tornado continued into Cass County where it killed one person near Rock Cliffs, by the Missouri River. The tornado continued on into Iowa where 3 people were killed north of Bartlett and 2 people were killed SE of Glenwood in Mills County.

There were actually 7 tornadoes that day.

# Time Deaths Injuries Yards Wide Miles Traveled F scale Counties
1 1700 0 13 200 15 F3 Burt,NE / Monona, IA
2 1730 0 2 150 15 F3 Lancaster/Cass,NE
3 1730 22 50 800 55 F4 Saunders/Douglas/Washington, NE
Harrison, IA
4 1745 103 350 400 40 F4 Sarpy/Douglas,NE Pottawattamie/Harrison/Shelby,IA
5 1815 18 100 800 65 F4 Otoe/Cass,NE /Mills/Pottawattamie,IA
6 1815 25 75 400 ? F4 Sarpy,NE /Pottawattamie/Harrison/Shelby,IA
7 1900 0 0 ? 5 F2 Pawnee,NE
  • #1 Moved NE from west of Craig,NE across the NW part of Craig, then west and NW of Blencoe, IA.
    All injuries were in Craig, 11 homes were destroyed.
  • #2 Moved NE from near Havelok, destroying homes at Prarie Home and on farms east of GreenWood.
  • #3 "The Yutan Tornado"
  • #4 "The Omaha Tornado"
  • #5 "The Berlin Tornado"
  • #6 Moved NE from the south edge of Bellevue, hitting the south edge of Council Bluffs, killing 17 people in small homes. 2 people were killed at Gilliant, 2 People died east of Weston, 3 people were killed near Neola, all in Pottawattamie County, IA. The tornado passed 1 mile SE of Harlan, IA in shelby County killing 1 person. Estimated damage was $400,000.



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