North Dakota is known for having storms and bad weather, but when you think of a storm here, you think of snow, not clouds and rain.

You might not know this, but an unexpected storm hit Fargo, North Dakota, and had a devastating impact.

The Fujita Scale

Fujita Scale was developed in 1971. Tetsuya Theodore Fujita, who did a detailed analysis of the storm (some say this launched his career), developed the "Enhanced Fujita Scale."

This scale is used today to gauge the strength/wind speeds of tornados and hurricanes. You may hear someone refer to a tornado as an EF-4 or EF-5.

According to, the Fujita Scale is as follows:

F0 - 65 - 85 mph wind gusts

F1 - 86 - 110 mph wind gusts

F2 - 111 - 135 mph wind gusts

F3 - 136 - 165 mph wind gusts

F4 - 166 - 200 mph wind gusts

F5 - Over 200 mph wind gusts

Tornado of 1957

On June 20th, 1957, five tornados touched down in North Dakota. One of the tornados was later classified as an F5.

The Williston Herald reported that at 7:36 pm the evening of the storm, the F5 dropped west of residential Fargo, between the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroad tracks.

According to, the path of the tornado was 9 miles long and approximately 700 feet wide.

The source says the storm cell lasted for 6 hours, with the tornados dropping for four of those hours.

According to, Ted Fujita mapped each tornado and gave them names.

1. Wheatland Tornado

2. Casselton Tornado

3. Fargo Tornado

4. Glyndon Tornado

5. Dale Tornado

The third tornado would turn out to be the most devasting, with five blocks being destroyed, 1000 homes damaged, 340 homes destroyed, 13 people killed, and approximately 103 injured, according to

A family of six was among those lost to the storm.

The Golden Ridge area, new at the time, was impacted the most.

Remembering Fargo's F5 Tornado

Storm and destruction photos.

Gallery Credit: Andi Ahne

Debris from the storm was found as far as 54 miles from Fargo, near Rochert, Minnesota.


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