Remembering the Lubbock tornado


LUBBOCK, Texas — On May 11, 1970, 26 lives were lost and thousands changed forever when a tornado blew through downtown Lubbock dessimating the city. 

One survivor, Irasema Velasquez, said she rembered her house collasping, and waiting out the storm with her family. 

“We all felt something was about to happen,” Velasquez said. “We all ran to the hall, and as soon as we got there the windows popped and the walls knocked us down on the floor.”

On the other side of the world, Louise Stephens said she was in Japan when she heard about the devastating tornado over the radio.

‘My ground shook,” Stephens said. “Being that far away, there was no way to know if my family was alive or dead.”

Stephens said two weeks went by, until she recieved a letter from her mother telling her that their family was ok.

“It was just utter joy in my heart,” Stephens said. “I mean I just absolutely was so relieved.”

Decades later, both Stephens and Velasquez said the tornado not only made them stronger, but brought Lubbock together like never before. 

“I survived to get to see this happen,” Velasquez said. “I survived to see the revitalization after the tornado, and I got to be a part of that.”

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