56 years ago an F-5 tornado ripped through Fargo-MoorheadFargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- It has been 56 years since an F-5 tornado ripped through Fargo-Moorhead, killing 10 and injuring scores of people.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- It has been 56 years since an F-5 tornado ripped through Fargo-Moorhead, killing 10 and injuring scores of people.
But to this day, scientists use the 1957 Fargo Tornado, as the storm that led to scientist Ted Fujita and the EF-scale that now rates tornadoes.
The night of the tornado, WDAY'S weatherman Dewey Bergquist and another employee at the station, went out to photograph and film the sky. What they captured then, is still studied and talked about today.
Here is the clock that struck. Minutes before this sheer devastation to Fargo's North side that June 20th night, WDAY's Dewey Bergquist and Harry Jennings set out with still and film cameras to capture what was about to unfold. A killer storm with historic implications.
Dewey Bergquist - WDAY’s First Weatherman: “The tornado hit Golden Ridge like a volcano erupting, I could see whole walls and roofs lifted into the air and ripped into kindling.”
Our weatherman Dewey saw it all develop, frame by frame the storm turning into a killer tornado.
Bergquist: “I think Webster would do well to define despair as the feeling you have as you watch helplessly as a monster devours your city.”
Daryl Ritchison- WDAY’s Weatherman: “It was a milestone. It was a storm that hit a major metro area with multilple camera angles and film sources, and that is why Fujita a lot of his Fscale was based on that storm.”
A few miles away, our filmmaker Jennings documented the tornado hitting the Golden Ridge neighborhood near NDSU.
Bergquist: “Blasting many of the houses into debris. Screens and projectors nothing but shambles.”
WDAY set out to cover the devastation, documenting the tragic loss of the Munson children. Mercedes Munson, lost 6 of her 7 children.
“I asked about the others and he said they are all dead.”
As Fargo searched for its dead and cared for the dozens injured, the devestation...some 1500 homes all became part of a study
Bergquist: “This is Golden Ridge from the air.”
That would lead to our modern day ratings of tornadoes. WDAY's Dewey Bergquist worked with Ted Fujita, supplying rare film and photo documentation of the tornado, that resulted in terms and science still used today.
Ritchison: “And so you could triangulate very detailed imagery we take for granted today.”
The WDAY film, along with trigonometry taught us about a tornado's evolution and makeup, its behavior. All information used today.
We also learned that it was a family of tornados that day. One just happened to drop down and devastate the biggest city in the state.
Bergquist: “9 days later testimony of the will to rebuild.”
We also learned from the film, how volunteers and the national guard all worked to get Fargo back on its feet in just days.
That tornado moved east into Minnesota, hitting Glyndon and Hawley.