tornado

Mr. and Mrs. Grady Smith of Farmington in front of their house May 10, 1989. 

A trio of surprise tornadoes hit the city 30 years ago on May 5, and as part of our photography issue, we felt it prudent to revisit the story through images.

Shown here are Mr. and Mrs. Grady Smith of Farmington as they stand in front of their house. The damage is severe — but there’s a unique juxtaposition here, and you don’t have to look hard to find it. Mrs. Smith is holding a single flower, casting life and regrowth against destruction and chaos.

All told, $25 million in damage wrecked the city, with the storm criss-crossing over I-40 and narrowly missing downtown. Many trees were downed, signs were destroyed, houses and vehicles were crushed; however, there were no fatalities. Recovery efforts lasted for months but ultimately, the citizens of the Twin City became more united.

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