Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 1972 Indianapolis Area Tornado

Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most powerful tornadoes to strike the Indianapolis area since records began.  The tornado had a non-continuous damage path of 29 miles and first touched down on the east side of Indianapolis in the 9700 block of East Washington Street.  The tornado was seen by a number of people and pictures were taken showing another funnel cloud.  At the Drake Terrace Apartments, a second floor wall was blown down.  In the 1100 block of North German Church Road, three steel high tension towers were blown down.  Some of the worst damage occurred in the Heather Hills subdivision where ten houses were flattened.  In Marion county, about 70 homes were damaged or destroyed.  In Mount Comfort, clocks were stopped at 12:25 PM and a railroad car was tipped over.  Near Eden, roofs were damaged and trees were uprooted.  Northwest of Markleville, several mobile homes were severely damaged.  The last damage occurred at Mechanicsburg where a barn was unroofed.  Somewhat miraculously, nobody was killed but about 20 people were injured.

Several F3 tornadoes have struck Indianapolis since records began, but the 1972 tornado may be the only F4 that has occurred within the Indianapolis city limits.  Another tornado in 1998 began in eastern Marion county but apparently did not produce F4 damage until it reached Hancock county.


Storm Data
Thomas P. Grazulis, Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991 (Environmental Films, 1993).

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