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Tornado Hits Cheyenne 35 Years Ago Today

Tornado Damage
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Where were you when the tornado hit Cheyenne on July 16, 1979?

Today marks the 35 anniversary of the large tornado that swept through the Capitol City, passing by Frontier Park, the Cheyenne Regional Airport and Buffalo Ridge leaving behind devastation.

Here’s a YouTube video of that fateful day.

I remember working at the Safeway Store in the Melton Shopping Center and hearing the sirens go off. We saw the dark clouds and funnel cloud just over the hill by the airport. We were instructed to escort shoppers into the dairy cooler, the sturdiest structure in the Safeway.

My mom tells the story of thinking it was a big fire somewhere, she was driving my grandma by Frontier Park when she saw what looked like a giant plume of smoke. It turns out that was the large tornado.

Videos shot that day became some of the first films of an active tornado thanks to some of the brave storm chasers here in Cheyenne.

What memories do you have of Cheyenne’s big tornado in 1979?

Tornado Damage
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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