Various Native American tribes perceived tornadoes in different ways. Some saw them as a cleansing agent, sweeping away the ragged and negative things of life. Others saw them as a form of revenge for dishonoring the Great Spirit.
Tornado legends were also passed on to the early settlers. One such legend has it that tornadoes will not strike between two rivers, near the point where the rivers join.
- A tornado watch means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop.
- A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted either in person or through radar.
(video of the 1974 Louisville, Ky F4 Tornado)
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and can strike with little or no warning. Within minutes, a tornado can destroy entire neighborhoods and leave a path of devastation that stretches for miles.
It was April 3, 1974. I was in the third grade and my mom had just picked me up from school. We only had a couple of blocks to walk home when we heard the sirens. We took shelter in another school that was close by in the basement. The next day we drove to the Cherokee area and walked through what was left of many houses. I remember seeing homes that had entire walls missing exposing their furniture. At that time I wasn’t aware of how lucky we had been or appreciate the seriousness of the situation.
The Louisville tornado touched down at 4:37 p.m. near Standiford Field airport. It first damaged The Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, and destroyed the majority of the horse barns at the center and part of Freedom Hall.
The tornado continued its 22-mile journey northeast where it demolished most of Audubon Elementary School and affected the neighborhoods of Audubon, Cherokee Triangle, Cherokee-Seneca, Crescent Hill, Indian Hills, Northfield, Rolling Hills, and Tyler Park. When it was all over two people were killed, injuring 207 people, over 900 homes destroyed, and thousands of others damaged. Cherokee Park, an historic 409-acre municipal park located at Eastern Parkway and Cherokee Road, had thousands of mature trees destroyed.