50 years later: Residents remember deadly 1967 Belvidere tornado - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

50 years later: Residents remember deadly 1967 Belvidere tornado


Today marks the 50th anniversary of the tornado that tore through Boone County, killing 24 people.

On Friday, April 21, 1967, just before 4 p.m., school children were getting on the school bus to go home. The bus driver, seeing the storm, opened the door and urged the kids to try to run back to the school. Many of them did not make it.

The tornado was on the ground for about 25 miles, killing two dozen people and hurting more than 500 others.

The tornado touched down south of Cherry Valley, then traveled east through Belvidere before moving into McHenry County.

Many people who survived the Belvidere tornado are still alive today.  

They were among the crowd of people at the Boone County Historical Museum in Belvidere for a special open house.

"As the kids were tumbling their feet hit me and the face. I was so scared I put my hands right through the seat," said Dan Potter who survived on a school bus when the tornado hit.

"All of the sudden the hail came and all the windows broke out int he car and it started moving around so we all got on the floor and just rode it out," said Judi Ford Nash, who was trapped in a car during the ordeal.

Dozens packed the museum to listen to people share their stories about that fateful day.
Several were on school buses when the storm hit and remember thinking they weren't going to survive.
Local author Mike Doyle wrote a book about the storm and held a book signing. He says even through all his year's of research, he learned plenty more Friday night.

 "Tonight just doing a book signing I've heard so many stories that I'd never heard before. The time to tell a story is when you can. It doesn't matter if it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago," said Doyle.

Among those new stories was Potter's.

"This is the first time I'm ever talking about it," he said. "I remember looking at that tornado, watching it come at us and it was so huge and so massive that the houses would just explode as it's coming down the street."

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