Remembering deadly Palm Sunday tornado in Crystal Lake, Island Lake

The Northwest Herald interviewed 35 people about the Palm Sunday tornado that struck McHenry County on April 11, 1965, killing five people in Crystal Lake and a boy in Island Lake. Web Editor Nicole Franz edited those interviews into 40 videos that provide a glimpse into what they experienced 50 years ago.

Those videos appear below along with galleries of historical photos of the damage in Crystal Lake and an interactive map of their stories.

Nearly every story about Palm Sunday 1965 starts with the humidity.

The day was unseasonably warm, so much so that Rick Burman, then about 20 years old, remembered wearing shorts and a T-shirt while building a dog kennel with his brother-in-law Ed Ozog at his grandparents' farmhouse where he and his wife lived.

Barbara Oehmke was escaping the humidity by taking her four children shopping for Easter clothes at the Meadowdale Shopping Center in Carpentersville while her husband, Keith, was out, working an overtime shift for ComEd.

Read the full story of the Palm Sunday tornado here.


Gallery: 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado photos of Colby Subdivision

Gallery: Historical photos document damage from 1965 tornado

Gallery: Portraits of witnesses, survivors recalling the tornado


Eyewitness accounts from 35 who experienced devastation firsthand


Follow the path of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado.

Story by: Emily Coleman

Videos and Map by: Nicole Franz

Photos compiled by: H. Rick Bamman

Designed by: John Sahly

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