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35 Years Ago Today -- The "Super Outbreak" Of Tornadoes


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted April 03 2009 - 10:46 AM

35 years ago today was a stormy day never to be forgotten in the midwest United States:

Amazon.com: David Von Pein's review of The Wrath of God - Super Outbreak Tornadoe...

April 3, 1974 - The Tornado Super Outbreak

http://www.hometheat....-3-1974-a.html

The Xenia, Ohio, twister (pictured below) turned out to be the most deadly of the tornadoes to strike that day (April 3, 1974). The fierce half-mile-wide Xenia funnel, which struck at 4:42 PM local time, killed 33 people, while injuring 1,150 more. Approximately half the town was either completely destroyed or badly damaged by the wrath of the incredible "F5" twister. ("F5" being the most powerful and potentially destructive on the "Fujita" tornado-measuring scale.)

The official "Fujita" definition of an F5 twister indicates the following --- "F5 Tornado: Wind Speed: 261-318 MPH; producing 'Incredible Damage'. Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 yards; trees debarked; steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged. Incredible phenomena will occur. F5 Relative Frequency: Less than 1% of all recorded tornadoes."

In theory, it is believed that an "F6" category of tornado could exist, but no F6 storms have ever been officially recorded (to date). Interestingly, the official Fujita description of a potential "F6" storm is classified in the "Inconceivable" category (with winds of 319-379 MPH).

Xenia is located 16 miles west of Dayton, Ohio, and has a population of about 25,000. There were nine churches, four schools, and 1,333 homes and businesses destroyed. The total cost of the damage sustained to the town was estimated to be approximately 100 million (circa 1974) dollars.

The F5 monster that annihilated Xenia stayed on the ground for 32 miles and lasted nine minutes, which is nearly twice as long as a normal tornado. The clean-up lasted three months.

The 32-mile duration of the Xenia funnel, however, did not establish the record-high for "consecutive length on the ground" that April day. A twister that tore through Monticello, Indiana, remained on the ground for an incredible 121 miles before finally dissipating. That "F4" tornado killed 19 people and injured more than 360 others.

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SOME TORNADO TRIVIA:

Nine years prior to the 1974 "Super Outbreak", the midwest U.S. experienced a precursor to the '74 storms when more than 50 tornadoes ripped through the middle U.S. states, killing better than 250 and injuring thousands more. That spate of twisters was known as the "Palm Sunday Outbreak", occurring on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965.

The all-time record for the deadliest single tornado in United States history belongs to the so-called "Tri-State Tornado", which killed an almost unbelievable 695 people in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, on Wednesday, March 18th, 1925.

That amazing twister kept the same heading (NE 63 degrees) for 183 miles of its 219-mile path. The tornado travelled at an average speed of 62 MPH, setting still more records for both speed and path length.

After the "Tri-State" twister moved into Illinois, the storm was at its worst. In Gorham, Illinois, 34 were killed as nearly 100% of the town was destroyed. Between Gorham and Murphysboro, the record for "fastest tornado ground speed" was broken as the relentless funnel cloud barrelled across the ground at 73 miles-per-hour!

The tornado arrived at Murphysboro, Illinois, at 2:34 P.M., killing a staggering 234 people, breaking yet another record (the most deaths in one U.S. city from a single tornado). Damage in Murphysboro exceeded 10-million (1925-era) dollars.

The incredible "Tri-State Tornado" was part of a larger tornado outbreak on that March day way back in 1925, an outbreak which included eight tornadoes that killed an absolutely-incredible total of 747 people, making it (to date) by far the deadliest multi-tornado outbreak on record. And it's a record that's not likely to ever be topped. God willing, it never shall.

A 140-page book, first published in March 1992, focuses solely on that 1925 monster twister ("The Tri-State Tornado: The Story Of America's Greatest Tornado Disaster").

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

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Posted April 03 2009 - 12:12 PM

My hometown was destroyed by a double tornado event in 1936 with 203 killed just in the town

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 03 2009 - 01:35 PM

I'm sure that Oliver Stone will tell you that it was caused by David Ferry belching. Posted Image
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#4 of 10 ONLINE   RobertR

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Posted April 03 2009 - 02:59 PM

If it happened today you can bet that there would be headlines blaring loudly from major news outlets about how it's proof of global warming (oops, I mean "climate change", global warming doesn't fit the facts, so they decided to change it).

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   member666

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Posted April 03 2009 - 05:19 PM

Wow, very powerful stuff. I used to live in Missouri, so I remember these forces of mother nature. Don't see those in British Columbia.
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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 03 2009 - 08:55 PM

It's amazing how people cope with such things. It's perhaps even more amazing that there really isn't any "safe zone" to which you could move.
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This map makes North Dakota look like a refuge but try telling that to the people in Fargo this week. (The map ignores flooding for some reason.)

I'm not sure which is worse: a hurricane which smacks everyone in an area or a tornado which is even more deadly but whose impact upon any given person is much more a matter of chance. I haven't experienced either.

Here in Boise we're probably as safe as anywhere, although if the Yellowstone supervolcano has a major eruption all bets are off. That would probably precipitate another "mass extinction" event.

I can't imagine living through a volcanic event. They are so massive - they can even be seen from space. Here's last week's Mt. Redoubt erruption from space.
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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

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Posted April 04 2009 - 12:00 AM

Quote:
Here's last week's Mt. Redoubt erruption from space.

Cool photo.

Are we sure this isn't the Earth Starbuck first landed on? I think I see the outline of Australia. Posted Image

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted April 04 2009 - 08:25 AM

Last year, we had one on the ground in Arkansas for over 123 miles which destroyed three towns.

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted April 06 2009 - 09:43 AM

What was not mentioned in the original post is that an astonishing total of 164 storms were involved (hence, it is called the "Super Outbreak"). And I saw one of them, a fatal storm that struck Nashville, Tennessee on April 3. It was in its final minutes, and the sun was shining directly on the vortex cloud, which, by then, had become long and "ropey," eventually dissipating. I would estimate its distance from me at about ten miles to the northeast.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted April 06 2009 - 12:14 PM

Quote:
What was not mentioned in the original post is that an astonishing total of 164 storms were involved.
Not quite. Only 148. Posted Image

Super Outbreak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





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