Deadliest Tornado Dates In US History

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A collapsed church is seen amongst tornado damage after extreme weather hit the region December 12, 2021, in Mayfield, Kentucky. Dozens of devastating tornadoes roared through five US states overnight, leaving more than 80 people dead on December 11, 2021 in what President Joe Biden said was “one of the largest” storm outbreaks in history. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

More than 70 people are feared dead after tornadoes devastated the southeastern US state of Kentucky overnight Friday into Saturday.

Here is a list of the deadliest tornado days in the United States’ recorded history:

1. 747 deaths – March 18, 1925 – The Tri-State Tornado

The deadliest single tornado in American history claims 695 lives as the monster twister crosses Missouri, southern Illinois and into southwestern Indiana. The wider tornado outbreak leaves 747 people dead.

2. 332 deaths – March 21, 1932 – The Deep South tornado outbreak

Tornadoes are produced from Texas to South Carolina — 270 of the dead are in Alabama alone.

3. 317 deaths – May 17, 1840 – The Great Natchez Tornado

The second-deadliest single tornado in US history strikes the Mississippi town of Natchez, killing 317 people. Most of the dead are killed on flatboats on the river.

4. 314 deaths – April 24, 2011 – The 2011 “Super Outbreak”

Approximately 300 tornadoes lash the southeastern United States between April 22 and April 28, killing at least 354 people. On April 27 alone, 314 people die in five states. Alabama suffers around 250 deaths. Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Virginia are also affected.

5. 310 deaths – April 3, 1974 – The original “Super Outbreak”

The largest tornado outbreak on record before 2011 claims 310 lives as 148 confirmed tornadoes over a 24-hour period rage across 13 US states.

6. 305 deaths – May 27, 1896 – St. Louis-East St. Louis tornado

Rounding off a deadly two-week storm period, 305 people are killed by tornadoes in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.

7. 260 deaths – April 11, 1965 – The Palm Sunday outbreak

Some 50 twisters hit the Midwest, killing 260 people and leaving more than 1,000 injured in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

8. 249 deaths – April 5, 1936 – Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak

Most of the 249 people killed are in one Mississippi town, Tupelo.

9. 224 deaths – April 20, 1920 – Alabama-Mississippi

The deadly tornado-packed spring of 1920 ends with 224 people killed in an unusual early morning outbreak in Alabama and Mississippi.

10. 220 deaths – April 24, 1908 – Dixie tornado outbreak

Dozens of twisters stretching from South Dakota to Texas leave 220 dead.

SOURCE: The Severe Storms Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


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