Guersney, WY Tornado And Flooding, June 1955



By United Press.
Three Wyoming towns pumped and scooped their way out of a severe flood Monday after a nightmarish rainstorm, accompanied by a tornado that destroyed three farms, struck the area Sunday night.
Red Cross disaster crews set up emergency canteens at Torrington and Fort Laramie to take care of several hundred persons driven out of their homes by high water. Warnings went out in Nebraska towns down stream on the Platte river that they could expect high water later in the day.
No casualties were reported from either the flood or the tornado at mid-day Monday but communications in the area were down.
Wyoming Red Cross Director HARRY WILLIAMSON said the three farms reported destroyed by the tornado were across Cherry creek and crews have been unable to cross it to check on the full amount of damage.
Several hundred persons were being fed and housed at Fort Laramie and Torrington, but WILLIAMSON said the situation was not yet serious enough for establishment of a "mass shelter."
Radio reports here said two other, smaller towns, Fort Laramie and Guernsey to the west, also were flooded by water that backed up from the torrential downpour estimated unofficially at six to 10 inches.
Water in the Torrington business section was only about curb deep but in some residential areas ranged up to three feet.
Earlier, two separate cloudbursts 24 hours apart had sent walls of water up to 14 feet deep rolling down a small stream into Rock Creek Valley three miles north of Buffalo, Wyo., forcing ranchers who live in the valley to flee.
The ranchers had barely started cleaning up the debris left from the first flood that hit Saturday night when they warned of a second flash flood on the same stream and again ran to high ground.
Rancher JAMES RENNIE, his wife and their two children narrowly escaped the first flash floor Saturday night when it hit their car as they were fleeing their home. They managed to wade through waist deep water to safety.
Several hundred head of sheep were drowned in the Rock Creek area and property damage was reported heavy to homes, barns and other structures.
Two tornadoes were reported sighted near Guernsey during the storm that hit in eastern Wyoming. Neither of the twisters was believed to have touched ground.
Heavy hail accompanied the rain here and extensive crop damage to farmlands, especially rich irrigated sections along the Platte river, was feared.
Traffic along U.S. Highway 26 and U.S. 85 south from Torrington, Wyoming was halted. A sheriff's rescue party sent to Fort Laramie reported six feet of water covering the highway in one low spot.
More cloudbursts and flood waters hit the Southland, submerging Memphis, Tenn., streets Sunday night and knocking out 450 telephones in the city with lightning bolts.
The winds and heavy rains stretched through Mississippi and Western Tennessee. An 11-year-old boy was killed by a lightning bolt as he rounded up cattle near Macon, Miss., and a minor league baseball game was suspended at Meridian, Miss., after high winds blew in the Buckwalter stadium fence.

Las Vegas Daily Optic New Mexico 1955-06-27