April 21st will mark the anniversary of the devastating Belvidere tornado that hit back in 1967. An EF-4 tornado with wind speeds over 250 MPH hit the Belvidere area and hitting the school.
The tornado killed 24 people and injured over 500 people. It struck when the school was letting out and many children were caught inside the buses at the Belvidere High School at 1500 East Ave, as the tornado hit the school.
Jackie Krause said she witnessed three tornadoes turn into one huge tornado.
Classroom doors were used as stretchers.
The high school gym became a morgue.
13 of the 24 deaths were at the school. 300 of the 500 injured, were also at the school.
The Belvidere Tornado
The tornado first struck at 350 PM two miles southeast of Cherry Valley. The tornado passed the Chrysler plant near I-90 where 300 new cars and 100 employee cars were destroyed.
The tornado continued east northeast through the southeast side of Belvidere. One hundred twenty seven homes were destroyed, and hundreds more were damaged.
The most notable and horrific part of this tornado was the mayhem at the Belvidere High School. Buses had already picked up the elementary school children and were loading the high school students when the tornado struck. Twelve buses were rolled over. Students were flung like leaves into the muddy field.
Thirteen of the 24 fatalities and 300 of the 500 injuries in this tornado occurred at the high school.
According to Tom Grazulis of The Tornado Project, this was the nation’s sixth worst school death toll from a tornado. (Numbers one and two were also in Illinois – from the great Tri-State Tornado of 1925.) The tornado ended in McHenry County, about two miles north of Woodstock
Read some personal accounts at CLICK HERE