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June 27 is 65th Anniversary of ‘Devastating’ Tornado that hit Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co.

June 27 is 65th Anniversary of ‘Devastating’ Tornado that hit Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co.
June 27, 1955 Tornado as seen from the Weather Bureau office in Scottsbluff. Courtesy NWS

This Saturday marks the 65th anniversary of what’s believed to have been the most deadly tornado in the history of Scottsbluff.

In the afternoon of June 27, 1955, a long-duration tornado followed a 40-mile route through Scotts Bluff County, starting around 3:30 p.m. and ending about two hours later.

According to the National Weather Service, the twister started near Henry at the Wyoming-Nebraska border, traveling southeast down the North Platte River valley and ending about eight miles east of Scottsbluff.

Echo from the Weather Bureau radar in Scottsbluff at 3:55 p.m., June 27, 1955. Courtesy NWS

NWS records say the tornado cut a path 100 yards wide and measured an F4 on the Fujita Scale, and had developed in 80-degree temperatures one day after torrential rains hit the Nebraska Panhandle. Officials say the situation that particular day was a rare event that produced the largest and most devastating tornado in western Nebraska.

Diagram of June 27, 1955 tornado path through Scotts Bluff County. Courtesy NWS

2 people lost their lives and 29 were injured as the twister slowly churned through the countryside and the northern part of the community.

Film recordings of the tornado can been seen in this video on YouTube.

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