ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Saturday’s tornado will go down in Big Country history books, adding to the number of severe weather events that have left lasting impressions on generations of residents.
One of the first severe storms that came to KTAB Chief Meteorologist Sam Nichols’s mind was in 2015, when a tornado swept through just south of Cisco and claimed one life.
“May 9th is a day that as far as tornado history in the Big Country will unfortunately always remember,” said Nichols. “An EF-3, massive tornado went through and basically had a straight line headed toward Lake Leon.”
Abilene historian Jay Moore began researching Abilene’s tornadic past after this weekend’s events, ultimately discovering that tornadoes, unfortunately, are timeless.
“At the end of Grape Street a twister sat down and destroyed a few businesses and homes and killed Ruby Lee Persons who was a 37-year-old teacher at fair park elementary,” said Moore.
Jimmy Campbell took ownership over Procter Automotive in the 1970s, but the business was originally started in the 1940s by Bob Procter where a severe storm flattened the small auto shop.
“Mr. Procter told me the first year that he went in to business he had actually built the shop on the corner of South 14th and Butternut and that a storm or tornado did tear it down and carry it away,” said Campbell.
The shop was rebuilt a half block over one year later where it has stood for more than 70 years.
While researching, historian Moore also discovered a common thread stringing together the storms of the past with those of the present.
“It’s a rare event to have a tornado but it is a common trait that Abilene would step in and help as they did this past week,” said Moore.