Welcome to the Lubbock Tornado Website

The City of Lubbock is proud to present this website to the citizens of Lubbock and to all those affected by the May 11, 1970 tornado. The twister that tore through Lubbock caused close to $200 million in damage, resulted in over 1,500 injuries, and cost twenty-six people their lives.

The majority of the material found on this site, including hundreds of photographs, comes from the City’s own archives. We want to hear about your tornado experience, see your photographs, and provide everyone an opportunity to share in the memories of others who remember the night of May 11, 1970. Please check back often, as people continue to add to this website and thus to the collective memory of our community.

Photo courtesy of C.B. and Conny Martin

Cases of bottled water from Pearl Brewery sit outside the Broadway Church of Christ just days after the tornado swept through Lubbock.

(Photo courtesy of C.B. and Conny Martin)
ON MAY 11, 1970 a powerful tornado ripped through Lubbock, leaving behind a path of death and devastation. In the days and weeks that followed the fateful storm, relief poured in from different cities, agencies, and companies. Blankets, food, and other supplies arrived in abundance at relief centers, yet one item in particular, bottled water, proved difficult to procure from aid agencies. Clean, portable drinking water was in high demand, for both the victims and the emergency workers and responders. Unlike today, however, plastic bottles of water were not readily available on the shelves of every grocery and drug store in town.

Eventually, copious amounts of bottled water arrived in Lubbock, albeit from an unlikely source. Pearl Brewery, then located in the San Antonio area, sent hundreds of cases of water just days after the tornado hit. The water arrived bottled in Pearl beer bottles and was quickly distributed to hundreds of tornado victims and relief workers. Despite the unique packaging, the water was well received, though a few National Guardsmen were quite disappointed when they discovered the true contents of the Pearl bottles…

On behalf of the City of Lubbock, please take a moment to explore this site as we all remember the events of May 11, 1970 that forever changed Lubbock.