See the first photo of a tornado in Arizona

Posted: Updated:

The first tornado photographed in the United States was on April 26th, 1884. A farmer in Kansas who happened to have a camera, which was pretty rare at the time, saw the funnel cloud touch down near the town of Garnett, Kansas. The photograph has been enhanced over the years but seems to be authentic.  A.A. Adams knew the photograph would have some worth so he started marketing it.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see the image of the Garnett, Kansas Tornado]

Only about four months later, another photographer in the Dakota Territory got a photo of a much more dramatic tornado and claimed his was the first photograph of a tornado. That tornado photo, surely enhanced, is also shown. It’s the one with the three funnels. And many experts have said this is actually the first photo of a tornado.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see photo of 1884 tornado in the Dakota Territory]

In any event, it leads us to this: what is quite possibly the earliest photo of a tornado in Arizona. Since they’re so rare, the first photo wasn’t taken until August 27, 1964, when a tornado hit San Xavier Del Bac and killed two people. The photo was taken from downtown Tucson by Jay Taylor, who worked in advertising.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see photo by Jay Taylor]

There are also several photos of damage from that tornado.

[MOBILE/APP USERS: Damage Photo 1  |  Damage Photo 2]

Arizona, as a whole, averages 1 or 2 confirmed tornado touchdowns each year but most of the tornadoes aren’t very strong. Besides the mother and daughter who were killed in the San Xavier tornado, there’s been only one other death in Arizona blamed on a tornado. It occurred in June of 1974 when a tornado hit a mobile home park near Tucson.

  • Arizona's Family Weather BlogMore>>

  • How cold is too cold for your dog?

    How cold is too cold for your dog?

    Friday, December 8 2017 11:26 AM EST2017-12-08 16:26:20 GMT
    A coat may be a good option for some dogs, but make sure it is loose fitting and doesn't obstruct the dog's movement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)A coat may be a good option for some dogs, but make sure it is loose fitting and doesn't obstruct the dog's movement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Winter is here and that can mean some seriously cold weather in Arizona! But how cold is too cold for your pet pooch?

    More >

    Winter is here and that can mean some seriously cold weather in Arizona! But how cold is too cold for your pet pooch?

    More >
  • The 103-day dry streak is concerning

    The 103-day dry streak is concerning

    Monday, December 4 2017 7:07 PM EST2017-12-05 00:07:29 GMT
    It could be awhile before Arizona sees snow or rain. (Source: mycola / 123RF Stock Photo)It could be awhile before Arizona sees snow or rain. (Source: mycola / 123RF Stock Photo)

    Dec. 4 is the 103rd day without measurable rain in Phoenix. But on top of that, the entire state has been very dry the past several months. How hard could the forecast La Nina winter be?

    More >

    Dec. 4 is the 103rd day without measurable rain in Phoenix. But on top of that, the entire state has been very dry the past several months. How hard could the forecast La Nina winter be?

    More >
  • Full circle at Arizona's Family

    Full circle at Arizona's Family

    Monday, December 4 2017 4:29 PM EST2017-12-04 21:29:39 GMT

    Seventeen years ago this month, I moved out of Arizona to start my very first broadcasting job. It was a surprise to meet my future husband at that station, and even more of a surprise to be working side-by-side again so many years later. 

    More >

    Seventeen years ago this month, I moved out of Arizona to start my very first broadcasting job. It was a surprise to meet my future husband at that station, and even more of a surprise to be working side-by-side again so many years later. 

    More >