The North Texas town of Wichita Falls has seen three major tornadoes—in 1958, 1964, and another in 1979. On April 3, 1964, a devastating F5 tornado hit the northern region of Wichita Falls and Sheppard Air Force Base. While only on the ground for 35 minutes, the 800-foot-wide twister killed seven people, injured 111, and destroyed 225 homes. Property damages to both civilian properties and Sheppard were set at over $15 million. This tornado was also the first broadcast live, as a KAUZ-TV crew managed to capture the storm during a commercial shoot.
While the 1964 tornado was the mightiest to ever hit Wichita Falls, the storm is often overshadowed by the more infamous Terrible Tuesday storm, a F4 tornado that struck Wichita Falls on April 10, 1979. The tornado was part of the 1979 Red River Valley tornado outbreak, a series of 59 tornadoes that cut through Texas, Oklahoma, and Indiana. The wedge tornado was over 1.5-miles wide at its peak, leaving an eight-mile stretch of destruction in the southern part of the city. The tornado killed 42 Wichita Falls residents and caused over $200 million in damages, leaving 20 percent of the city’s population homeless. It was the costliest tornado in history until the F5 Moore-Oklahoma City tornado struck in 1999.