July 4, 1978
F4 Tornado Destruction

Elgin, North Dakota

Photos by Patrick C. Miller

Bismarck National Weather Service Forecast Office Elgin Tornado Web Page

Aerial photos from the morning of July 5, 1978
(Click on photo to view large size)

The path of the tornado is visible where it tore through the town
from the west (bottom) to the east (top).

The water tower was knocked down and split open.

A wider view of destruction in the neighborhood
near the water tower.

Some homes were literally turned into tinder.

The twister's path is obvious here.

The tornado was narrow but absolutely devastating.

Two of the five people who died in the storm lived in this complex
which the tornado clipped as it exited the east side of Elgin.

As the tornado continued east from Elgin, it destroyed
a number of farmsteads along the highway.

This photo gives an indication of how much of the town
was left unscathed by the tornado.

Cleaning up tornado devastation the afternoon of July 7, 1978
(Click on photo to view large size)

The water tower crushed a parked car when it fell.

Volunteers from around the region flocked in
to help with the cleanup effort.

Farm machinery piles up debris on a neighborhood street.

The North Dakota National Guard was called in to
assist with cleaning up Elgin.

This paper check was embedded in a telephone pole during the tornado
(Click on photo to view large size)

This check was so firmly embedded in a telephone
pole that it couldn't be pulled out.

The check was likely struck by an object and
driven in to the wood pole.