Jun 22, 2021

Oak Lawn Tornado 1967

Friday April 21, 1967 the Oak Lawn Roller Rink was destroyed by a tornado.

"The roar was deafening like the end of the world howling Death banshee, and instantly we became limp rag dolls suspended in a slow motion 300 mph black whirlwind with particles slashing and cutting our entire bodies like hundreds of razor blades. I could feel an intense pressure trying to crush me in a sort of vacuum as I was spinning in a blender of death. Things were bashing my body as they exploded at tremendous speeds. I could feel my body being wrung like a dishrag and then I felt a heavy blow to the right side of my head and I was out."

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Palos Hills - Oak Lawn - Chicago

Aerial view of Tornado damage in Oak Lawn
At 5:30 P.M., another strong, later F4-estimated, tornado touched down near Palos Hills. Near the beginning of its path, the tornado downed multiple trees and two high transmission electrical towers. It strengthened and in the space of six minutes, tore a 16.2-mile (65 mph ground speed) swath of destruction through Oak LawnHometownEvergreen Park, and devastated the south side of Chicago before moving offshore to Lake Michigan as people were stuck in traffic during Friday rush hour. Many of the deaths occurred at traffic lights, where vehicles were thrown by the tornado. For that reason, this tornado ended up being the deadliest in the outbreak. Thirty-three people were killed and 1000 were injured, including 16 deaths alone at the intersection of Southwest Highway and W. 95th St. (US-12/20) in Oak Lawn.


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