Paris Tornado Anniversary: SPECIAL REPORT


April 2, 1982: Paris Tornado
On the afternoon of April 2 1982, a supercell thunderstorm began the destruct sequence when it produced an EF-3 twister three miles SSE of Ravenna, Texas at 3:25p.m. It was 150 yards wide and stayed on the ground for 22 miles. During this time one was killed, one injured with property damage at $2.5million. Earlier in the afternoon, this same storm dumped golfball hail in the Sherman area, but no tornadoes were spotted, or wind damage reported, until the Ravenna sighting. This funnel continued eastward into western Lamar County where it fizzled.
Shortly after the first tornado dissipated northwest of Paris, a second and more violent tornado formed over northwestern portions of town and tracking eastward. This was the Paris Tornado.
Some 465 homes and apartments were damaged or destroyed as the tornado ground out a 200-300 yard wide path across the north side of Paris. Many homes received F2 to F3 (113-206mph) damage, with relatively few experiencing F4 (207-260mph)destruction. [These numbers are from the "old" F-scale still used at the time.]
In northwest Paris, a large lumber yard was leveled and then destroyed by fire as a result of the tornado. A mobile home park near the lumber yard was crushed. Most of the mobile home park residents received adequate warning and evacuated their homes. However, four people did not leave. Two of these people died, and the other two were injured.
The storm was rated as an F-4, with winds of around 210mph. The path was 250 yards wide, 17 miles long. A total of 10 were killed, 170 injured, with damage of $50 million (1982 dollars). About a thousand persons were left homeless.
It still ranks as the costliest tornado in both lives and property damage to hit Texoma since the Antlers, OK tornado of 1945.


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  • by Danna Location: Bonham on Jun 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM
    So remember this day...I was in 3rd grade and on the school bus trekking through rain and mud on north Fannin county back roads when our bus driver abruptly stopped. To our left, thankfully moving East (opposite to us), this beast was slinging trees left & right! He backed about a 1/2 mile down this dirt road, back to FM 1396 and hauled tail about 1 1/2 miles west to my home where we had a storm cellar. Had the tornado not continued East, all us kids would have piled in the cellar! My dad worked for Coca-Cola in Paris and he actually got in the ditch when the actual F4 hit. He was outside Paris (east) but saw it form (NW of him) and he said all the vehicles stopped on the road and everyone headed for the ditches! Scary Day!!!!
  • by Christy Patterson Location: antlers on Apr 26, 2011 at 05:18 AM
    i was 5 years old at the time, and had come home from school. where me and my mother was, a trailer park just across the railroad tracks from Campbell Soup tower, and i actually seen it. It was so black in color, i was in awe of it. It was truely unlike i have ever seen before in my life. But thanks to the school system we had learned about tornado safety in Kindergarden, and i have been facinated with tornadoes eversince, but just at a safe distance.
  • by mike Location: amarillo, tx on Apr 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM
    Was living in Dallas at that time. The day started with isolated morning storms with hail in northeast Dallas. Things quieted down until the dry line passed and it got dusty-- however you could see the huge anvil tops developing of to the northeast. Didn't even know Paris had been hit until it was on the news later.
  • by Rich Tunnell Location: Indianapolis, IN on Dec 24, 2010 at 02:51 PM
    I was just a kid when this happened but I remember it well. Never seen anything like it before or since!
  • by Eric Kraft Location: Paris, TX (Lamar Veterinary Clinic) on Jul 6, 2010 at 06:22 PM
    I had the (un)fortunate vantage to watch the destruction of this tornado from less than 100 yards away. If you've ever questioned the sheer force of a tornado, just know that a 2x4 through a brick wall and airborne school buses are but common feats for an F-4 tornado.
  • by David M Location: Rockwall on May 10, 2010 at 04:54 PM
    I was standing at Main Tire Store almost exactly where the top picture was taken. The windows were popping out of the buildings. It passed about 2 blocks north of me, but was still sucking in large objects from all around me. Took forever to get home, probably 90 minutes to go 3 miles. Had to go around all the damage, on the way home passed lumber yard on fire and got my brief appearance on CNN who was filming. Went to hospital where I worker, were swamped with injuries. Later that night left to go home and National Gaurd wouldn't let me into my neighborhood! Sight of the tornado was stunning, 0.5 to 1.0 miles wide, literally took my breath away. I was foolish enough to stand there and watch it, though my options were limited. Don't remember the sounds, I think my senses were all focused visually.
  • by James Davis Location: sherman on Dec 3, 2009 at 09:05 PM
    Steve, my curiosity to weather in the sherman area about weather always had me wondering about paris , and witchita falls...sherman is in the almost exact middle shermans big one was 1900, are we lucky now or what? I still dont understand why weather chanell doesnt mention these storms in their stories of past storms? They do have a signifagance in our past. im an avid weather hound......
  • by Tanya Location: Vancouver, WA on May 14, 2009 at 01:24 PM
    I remember that day very well. We were at Wal-Mart getting things for Girls Scouts that night. When we were told to go to the back of the store because of the tornado warning. When it was over & we went home ours was one of the ones that was hit. The master bathroom shower was all that was remaning. That is where my grandmother was. Our house was also the first to be rebuilt after the tornado.
  • by Vicki Location: Atlanta, GA on May 8, 2009 at 10:47 AM
    I remember that day. We had not been home from schol long and then my dad showed up and made us get into the bathroom. We lived a mile behind Paris Lumber we were really lucky that the power lines pulled the tornado on the other side of Pine Mill. I still remember that day it was so windy and we actually had kite day at school.
  • by Mary Location: Sherman on Apr 4, 2009 at 04:16 PM
    I remember this tornado. We lived close and my Mom worked at the hospital in Bonham at the time. She went and assisted the Red Cross and did first aid where needed.
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