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64th anniversary of the deadly June 20 Fargo tornado

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - 64 years ago the Fargo-Moorhead area was struck by a deadly tornado. The F-5 tornado caused substantial damage and death on June 20, 1957.

“That was about 10 mile long and 50 minute long meeting and given that it was a 600 yard wide that would give about two minutes in each point that the tornado just devastated the area.” said NDSU climatologist Adnan Akyuz.

The tornado is famous for many reasons, including that it was the first tornado to be given the F-5 level off the Fujita scale. It was part of the research done by Tetsuya Fujita looking into the destructive nature of tornadoes. Reports from the Fargo storm showed that 10 people died, 103 people were injured and there was at least $25 million in damages. Out of the 10 that died, six of them were the Munson children who were waiting for their mother to come home.

“It was Mercedes Munson, their mother, it was her 36th birthday that day and the reason why they stayed home was because they were planning on throwing her a surprise party and so there were neighbors telling them, ‘You need to get in the car and go,’ and they wouldn’t leave the house because thye wanted to stay there and give her the surprise birthday party,” said Jamie Parsley, the author of ‘Fargo, 1957′. “And they stayed and they were killed.”

Both Akyuz and Parsley pointed out that this tornado was extremely rare for the area and has been studied by many.

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