A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Oklahoma In 1942…And No One Saw It Coming

Can you imagine a third of your town being destroyed within a matter of minutes? That’s what happened to the small, close-knit community of Pryor, Oklahoma on April 27, 1942. At approximately 5:00 p.m. local time, an EF4 tornado swept through the main business district of town and the residential section, demolishing 500 buildings, killing 52 people and injuring 350 others. As if the tornado wasn’t bad enough, the town was hit with torrential rains that left knee-deep water in town – halting rescue and cleanup efforts.

Let’s take a look back to that terrifying day in 1942:

We are thankful for the advancements in weather forecasting, but this tornado is a good reminder to take them seriously. For additional photos of the disaster, visit the Pryor Public Library’s online gallery.