Skip to comments.NOAA/NWS 1925 Tri-State Tornado Web Site--Tornado Track
Posted on 06/02/2013 6:11:38 PM PDT by BenLurkin
For thousands of residents in Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana, the days following March 18, 1925 must have been horrendous. Hundreds of lives had been taken and thousands were injured or left homeless. With so many fatalities, so many injuries, so much destruction, and so many lives torn apart, it was now time to clean up the mess that nature had left behind. But this was much easier said than donefor it would take months to rebuild what had been demolished in less than 4 hours. Lets take a brief look at what happened years ago, on that dreadful day of the Great Tri-State Tornado.
It all started around 1:00 p.m. just northwest of Ellington, Missouri, where one farmer was killed. From there, the tornado raced to the northeast, killing two people and inflicting $500,000 in damage upon Annapolis and the mining town of Leadanna. Departing the Ozarks, the storm headed across the farmland of Bollinger County, injuring 32 children in two county schools. By the time the tornado reached the Mississippi River bordering Perry County, eleven Missourians had perished.
The devastation mounted in southern Illinois, as the entire town of Gorham was demolished around 2:30 p.m. There, 34 people lost their lives. During the next 40 minutes, 541 people were killed and 1,423 were seriously injured as the tornado tore a path of destruction nearly one mile wide through the towns of Murphysboro, De Soto, Hurst-Bush, and West Frankfort. In eastern Franklin County, 22 people died as the town of Parrish was virtually wiped off the map. The tornado proceeded unabated across rural farmland of Hamilton and White Counties, where the death toll reached 65.
After taking the lives of more than 600 Illinoisans, the storm surged across the Wabash River, demolishing the entire community of Griffin, Indiana. Next in line were the rural areas just northwest of Owensville, where about 85 farms were devastated. As the storm ripped across Princeton, about half the town was destroyed, with damage here estimated at $1.8 million. Fortunately, the twister dissipated about ten miles northeast of Princeton, sparing the community of Petersburg in Pike County. In the aftermath, the death toll mounted to 695 peopleat least 71 of those were in Southwest Indiana. Property damage totaled $16.5 millionnearly 2/3 of that was in Murphysboro alone.
Link to the Home Page: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pah/?n=1925tor
NOAA/NWS 1925 Tri-State Tornado Web Site—Startling Statistics
On March 18, 1925, the Great Tri-State Tornado tore across Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana. With its rapid movement, monstrous size, and long track, the tornado took hundreds of lives and injured thousands. By all means, the Tri-State Tornado was a rare eventan event that few people will ever experience in their lifetime. To give you some idea of this tornados magnitude, this section is devoted to a list of incredible statistics on the tornado.
3 states affected (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana)
13 counties affected, including:
Missouri: Reynolds, Iron, Madison, Bollinger, Perry
Illinois: Jackson, Williamson, Franklin, Hamilton, White
Indiana: Posey, Gibson, Pike
19+ communities affected, including:
Missouri: Ellington, Redford, Leadanna, Annapolis, Cornwall, Biehle, Frohna
Illinois: Gorham, Murphysboro, De Soto, Hurst-Bush, Zeigler, West Frankfort, Eighteen, Parrish, Crossville
Indiana: Griffin, Owensville, Princeton
219 mile path length
3/4 mile average path width (some accounts of 1 mile widea record width)
3 1/2 hours of continuous devastation
1:01 p.m.tornado touched down 3 miles NNW of Ellington, Missouri
4:30 p.m.tornado dissipated about 3 miles SW of Petersburg, Indiana
N 69° E heading maintained for 183 of the 219 miles
62 mph average speed
73 mph record speed between Gorham & Murphysboro
F5 tornado on the Fujita Scale, with winds perhaps in excess of 300 mph
28.87” lowest pressure measured on a barograph trace at the Old Ben Coal Mine in West Frankfort, Illinois
695 deathsa record for a single tornado
234 deaths in Murphysboroa record for a single community from such a disaster
33 deaths at the De Soto schoola record for such a storm (only bombings and gas explosions have taken higher school tolls)
15,000 homes destroyed
(Blizzard of '78):
***33 deaths at the De Soto schoola record for such a storm (only bombings and gas explosions have taken higher school tolls)****
I believe the Babbs Switch school house fire should be mentioned. 35 people killed.
I am acquainted with the NWS meteorologist-in-charge in Tulsa OK and he is originally from the Tri-state tornado area. Two years ago, he presented a study he did on the storm to the local storm spotters training. He evaluated the tracks (the map in your post was included) and damage reports to determine the Enhanced Fujita scale ratings. It was very interesting.
The 1974 tornadoes hit here. Those were the most damaging of all tornadoes. I can remember watching them form in western AL and head our way. Power went out and we had no idea what was headed our way. It was after this that all tv stations got their own radar. I think they formed in MS., came here and ended in Zenia, Ohio. Then in 1989 it happened again. This one hit about a mile from my house. Then 2 years ago, it happened again. I read a recent report that stated HSV is number one for tornado activity. Now, even if it looks like a storm is headed our way, schools close. We take warnings very seriously. I feel for anyone in danger. It only takes a few minutes to destroy everything.
If there is such a thing as an F-6, the Great Tri-State Tornado was it. The forward speed is one of the more incredible aspects of the storm; many tornadoes are clocked at 30-40 mph; the storms that hit OKC on Friday night were moving around 25 mph. The Tri-State tornado averaged 60 mph over its 219-mile track and hit 73 on the ground in Illinois; the power of the storm was absolutely incredible.
Not too many years ago, meteorologists and disaster managers were quietly predicting that we’d never see another tornado with a high death toll. Joplin changed their thinking; put an F-5 in a heavily populated area, and people are going to lose their lives, particularly when they ignore the warnings. Or when they’re advised to get into their cars and drive away from the storm, as they were in OKC two days ago.
I remember seeing the clouds from the Xenia tornado before we hid in the basement. It was about ten miles south of where I lived.
The same site where you got the blizzard picture from had this page on the Xenia tornado: http://ww2.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/exhibits/swio/pages/content/1974_tornado.htm.
300 mph, as shown eventually
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