Reflecting on the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On April 11, 1965, one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history struck the Midwest. A total of 47 tornadoes tore through Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

The 5 tornadoes that hit our area were all F4 tornadoes with winds up to 260 mph. Tornadoes moved through Lagrange and Steuben counties. Another hit Grant County after starting in Howard County, while another started in Blackford County before moving into Wells, Adams, and eventually into Van Wert.

One of the more notable reports came from Grant County south of Marion, where a hospital had its roof torn off and a shopping center was destroyed. Over 800 people were injured along the 48-mile path of that twister.

Meanwhile, damage in Keystone and Berne was significant, demolishing a bowling alley, lumber yard, and grocery store along a nearly 53-mile stretch.

Over 250 people were killed and more than 1,500 were injured throughout the Midwest as a result of the outbreak. It’s largely considered to be the deadliest of all outbreaks in Indiana.

On our WANE 15 Facebook Page, we asked the community to share their memories and stories of the day. Many reflected on just how much of the area was devastated as they drove around to observe the damage. Others told stories of how their family was without power for several days.