Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes

The Glazier-Higgins-Woodward Tornadoes were a system of related tornadoes that swept through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas on April 9, 1947. The event was similar to the Tri-State Tornado two decades before, in that it appeared to observers to be a single, very long-lived tornado. Later analysis suggests that it was a multiple-tornado outbreak. These tornadoes, although deadly, did not match the astounding death toll of the earlier event, nor did they match the record speed of that tornado, although at over 40 mph (64 km/h), they qualified as a fast tracking storm.

The tornadoes began in Texas. Just after the White Deer tornado dissipated, the first tornado of this event formed five miles (8 km) northwest of Pampa, Texas. The series of tornadoes would cut a path of destruction through three states, ending near St. Leo, Kansas. In Texas, the funnel passed northwest of Canadian. When it struck the tiny town of Glazier, it may have been as much as two miles (3 km) wide. Press reports told of two people who were known to be together in Glazier before the tornado struck were found three miles (5 km) apart afterward. Glazier was considered completely destroyed, with 17 dead, a major percentage of the populace. Much of Higgins, Texas, on the Texas-Oklahoma border, was also destroyed--the accepted death toll here was 51; again, a major fraction of the residents of the town were killed or injured.

The tornadoes were at their worst in Oklahoma--this was the deadliest storm in that state's tornado-troubled history. Six more people were killed when the tornado passed south of Shattuck, Gage, and Fargo. The tornado then moved into Woodward, where it killed an estimated 107 people. The damage track in Woodward was two miles (3 km) wide and destroyed 100 city blocks.

As the storm moved into Kansas, it weakened, although serious damage was reported in Barber County before it finally dissipated north of Kingman County. Cleanup in the region was made more difficult because of cold and snow that followed the tornado. The Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes were the 6th deadliest in U.S. history, killing 181 and injuring 970.

Damage Totals from the Red Cross

Libscomb County-Texas-36 homes flattened, 1 damaged Hempill County-83 homes leveled, 116 damaged Texas-$1,505,000 Ellis County-$1,264,000 52 homes destroyed, 133 damaged 223 other buildings destroyed, 107 damaged Woodward County-$6,608,750 430 homes destroyed, 650 damaged 925 other buildings destroyed, 775 damaged Woods County-$150,000 25 homes destroyed, 25 damaged 110 other buildings destroyed, 90 damaged Kansas-$200,000

Total Damage-$9,727,750,000-$103,489,594 (2008 dollars)


  • Thomas P. Grazulis (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991, A Chronology and Analysis of Events. The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. ISBN 1-879362-00-7 (hardcover)
  • Richard Bedard (1997). In the Shadow of the Tornado. Gilco Publishing. ISBN 0-9649527-1-8 (paperback)

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