What Happened the Night of June 3,1980
The night of June third would be a horrible night for the people
of Grand Island, Nebraska.
At 7:46 pm the National Weather Service issued one of the first
thunderstorm warnings in eastern Howard County and St. Paul. At 8:15
pm a tornado was reported 14 miles northwest of Grand Island. A
tornado was spotted by authorities. This tornado hit the Loup River
southwest of St. Paul.
At 8:30 pm a funnel was spotted 5 miles northwest of G.I. The
weather service then issued a tornado warning for northwest Hall and
From 8:45 to 9:34 pm the first of the seven tornadoes was on the
ground. This tornado was a cyclonic tornado. The tornado destroyed
anything in its path, which lasted for l4.5 miles. This was the
longest path of destruction for the evening. This was an F3 tornado
on the Fugita scale. The scale ranges from an F1 to an F6, which is
the highest reported in the USA.
The second tornado touched down at about 9:00 pm. It was an
anticyclonic tornado. This one had a very short life. The weakest
tornado was also the deadliest, taking 3 of the 5 people who were
From 9:05 to 9:39 pm, one of the most violent and destructive
storms ripped through northern G.I. The third tornado came from north
of Highway 2 and west of the Nebraska Veterans Home. It went south on
Capital Avenue and then southwest. This F3 tore through everything
and ran right into the Veterans Hospital on north Broadwell. At 9:10
the fourth tornado was on the ground. This tornado was about 1 mile
east of Northwest High School. The tornado danced around a cornfield
for about 10 or 15 minutes.
At 9:20 the National Weather Service updated the warnings for
Hall and Merrick counties. By 9:30, damage reports were flowing into
the weather service, 1 hour after the sirens went off.
From 9:46 to 9:50 pm, the last anticyclonic tornado took a short
run southwest of Grand Island. This tornado was only 4 minutes long
but was rated as an F1.
From 10:16 to 10:28 pm the most violent and destructive tornado
struck the southeast part of the city. With an F4 plus force of
winds, the tornado whipped through Kuester's Lake and crossed Stuhr
Road just norht of Bismark Road. Meves Bowl was ripped apart in a
matter of minutes. The storm moved southwest through the residential
area. From there the tornado moved on to take up its destructive
forces on South Locust Street and all of the businesses on the south
end of town.
At 10:25 to 10:35 the storm spawned the 6th tornado southwest of
G.I., and then it hopped southwest toward the Platte River. This one
was an F2. The seventh and final storm of the night was making its
way toward Phillips.
After the tornadoes left Grand Island, emergency people like
firemen and policemen went from house to house looking for injured
and missing people. They used spray paint to put a big X on the
houses they had checked. They took the people they found to shelters
if they needed help.