All things Edwiser

Cheyenne Tornado 29th Anniversary

This year marks the 29th Anniversary of the most devastating tornado that hit Cheyenne Wyoming July 16th, 1979. Here is a little information on found on http://www.bangladeshtornados.org.

On July 16, 1979, the most damaging tornado in Wyoming history touched down 3 miles west-northwest of the Cheyenne airport. This strong tornado moved east or east-southeast across the northern part of Cheyenne, causing $22 million in damage and 1 fatality. 140 houses and 17 trailers were destroyed. 325 other houses were damaged. Four C-130 aircraft and National Guard equipment sustained $12 million damage. Municipal hangars and buildings suffered another $10 million damage.

Tornado Cheyenne 1979

I was just 4 years old when this tornado hit. We were in a direct path and got hit as such. Initially classified as an F4 ( is now officially and F3) this thing was a beast and really came out of nowhere.

As my story goes. My brother and I were playing outside most of the morning, we came in for lunch and afterwards my mother was going to go out and hang cloths. I said to mom “Don’t go outside!” she asked why. I told her she was going to get struck by lightning. (Unrelated around that time on that day, a woman in Lander WY got struck by lightning). She looked outside and the sun was shining, so she went out to hang cloths. My brother and I went downstairs to watch TV as the thunder storm seemingly just showed up. The tornado Sirens went off and my mother grabbed my brother and me and the puppy and we all went downstairs in the basement.

Mom thought as long as we were down there she would do some sewing. She forgot her buttons upstairs and went to go get them. I followed because I was scared even though mom told me to stay there. And that’s when I saw it….. right in our back yard. Mom grabbed me and we bolted downstairs. The power went out as it sounded like an old Steam locomotive hitting our house. I watched the dog run away up the stairs and cried for him. Things were falling off the walls and the ceiling……

When it was all over we came out of the basement and walked up the path of destruction to a neighbor’s house that only sustained a few damages.

My Dad was at work while this was happening, and he came home afterwards to find us. The power was out the phones were down, and neighbors looking for survivors wouldn’t go into what was left of our house because it was unstable. My Dad found the neighbor and asked him where his family was. The neighbor replied “I didn’t see the come out”. So Dad went into the house looking for us. Remember I said the phones were dead, well he swears this next part happened. One of the only walls left standing was the wall with the phone on it. The phone rang and it was my Aunt. Dad answered, ” Is everyone OK we just heard there was a tornado” dad said he couldn’t find his family and he had to go. He hung up the phone and picked it up again to call and it was of course dead.

He somehow got word we were safe up the street, and he met us there. And I don’t remember much after that ( in fact most of this was told to me ). 29 years later my Parents still live in that house; it was finally paid off last year. If anyone has any pictures of this event to share I would love to see them!!!!


Update I found this video. you can see my house at 7min 48 seconds


  1. tomdotreed

    Hey Adam,
    I was a junior at East High School at the time. We lived in Buffalo Ridge (parents are still in the same house). I was working a construction job that summer and I was working at another house in Buffalo Ridge up to 30 minutes before the tornado came through town.

    The tornado went right through our neighborhood. There are links to a few pics of my house below. In pic #2 you can see the path of the tornado off into the distance. (That’s my dad on the roof)

    The day after the tornado I went back to the house that I was working at the day before. (It was a brand new house not yet occupied). The entire house was gone! Not one stick of lumber left. I’m glad I didn’t leave that house 30 minutes later than I did!

    It’s funny you mention the phone. When my Mom was walking upstairs after the tornado went through, the phone rang. She answered it and it was my sister saying “be carfeful… there’s a tornado”. My Mom said: “I know, it just hit our house!”



  2. Carla Krans


    I was visiting a friend on holiday in Cheyenne that day (I’m from Holland). I was also in a basement close to Buffalo Ridge (my friend’s brother lived there ) and heard the sound of a freight train over my head. I still got the news paper of that day at home. If you like I can scan the pictures for you.

    Carla Krans,
    Joure, The Netherlands

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