Super Outbreak


Super Outbreak

Infobox tornado|name=Super Outbreak (1974)
image location=Super Outbreak Map.png

date=April 3-4, 1974
duration=~18 hours
fujitascale=F5
tornadoes=148 confirmed (Most ever in a single-day outbreak)
total damages (USD)=$3.5 billion (2005 dollars)
total fatalities=315-330
areas affected=Most of central and eastern North America
The Super Outbreak is the largest tornado outbreak on record for a single 24-hour period. From April 3 to April 4, 1974, there were 148 tornadoes confirmed in 13 US states, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York; and the Canadian province of Ontario. It extensively damaged approximately 900 square miles (1,440 square kilometers) along a total combined path length of 2,600 miles (4,160 km). cite web | url = http://www.rms.com/Publications/1974SuperTornadoReport.pdf | title = Analysis and reconstruction of the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak | author = Risk Assessment Models | accessdate = 2007-03-03|format=PDF]

Meteorological synopsis

A powerful spring-time low pressure system developed across the North American Interior Plains on April 1. While moving into the Mississippi and Ohio Valley areas, a surge of very moist air intensified the storm further while there were sharp temperature contrasts between both sides of the system. NOAA officials were expecting a severe weather outbreak on April 3, but not of the extent which ultimately occurred. Several F2 and F3 tornadoes had struck portions of the Ohio Valley and the South in a separate, earlier outbreak on April 1 and 2, and this earlier storm system included three killer tornadoes in Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. The town of Campbellsburg, northeast of Louisville, was hard-hit in this earlier outbreak, with a large portion of the town destroyed by an F3. [ cite web | author = NWS Louisville | title = April 1, 1974 | url = http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=tornado_climatology_april11974 | accessdate = 2007-03-03] Between the two outbreaks, an additional tornado was reported in Indiana in the early morning hours of April 3, several hours before the official start of the outbreak.

On April 3, severe weather watches already were issued from the morning from south of the Great Lakes, while in portions of the Upper Midwest, snow was reported, with heavy rain falling across central Michigan and much of Ontario.

By the early afternoon, numerous supercells and clusters of thunderstorms developed and the outbreak began quickly, with storms developing in central Illinois, with a secondary zone developing near the Appalachians across eastern Tennessee, central Alabama, and northern Georgia. The worst of the outbreak shifted towards the Ohio Valley between 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM EDT where it produced four of the six F5s over a span of just two hours when three powerful supercells traveled across the area--one in central and southern Ohio, a second one across southern Indiana and Ohio, and a third one in northern Kentucky.

During the evening hours, activity again began to escalate farther to the south, with several violent tornadoes crossing the northern third of Alabama. Activity also spread to central Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, with numerous tornadoes, most of which were concentrated in the Cumberland Plateau region. Additional supercells developed across northern Indiana and southern Michigan producing additional violent and/or killer tornadoes between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM EDT including the Windsor, Ontario tornado.

Activity in the south moved towards the Appalachians during the overnight hours and produced the final tornadoes across the southeast during the morning of April 4.

A 2004 survey for Risk Management Solutions, citing an earlier Dr. Ted Fujita study, found that three-quarters of all tornadoes in the Super Outbreak were produced by 30 'families' of tornadoes; i.e., multiple tornadoes spawned in succession by a single thunderstorm cell. cite web | url = http://www.rms.com/Publications/1974SuperTornadoReport.pdf | title = Analysis and reconstruction of the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak | author = Risk Assessment Models | accessdate = 2007-03-03|format=PDF] Note that most of these tornadoes were not associated with squall lines. These were long lived and long track supercells.

Events and aftermath

Never before had so many violent (F5 and F4) tornadoes been observed in a single weather phenomenon. There were six F5 tornadoes and 24 F4 tornadoes. The outbreak began in Morris, Illinois, at around 1 p.m. on April 3, 1974. As the storm system moved east where daytime heating had made the air more unstable, the tornadoes grew more intense. A tornado that struck near Monticello, Indiana was an F4 and had a path length of 121 miles (193.6 km), the longest path length of any tornado for this outbreak. Nineteen people were killed in this tornado. Data from the Storm Prediction Center archives, which are accessible through [http://www.spc.noaa.gov/software/svrplot2/SeverePlot] , free software created and maintained by John Hart, lead forecaster for the SPC.] However, the first F5 tornado of the day struck the city of Xenia, Ohio, at 4:40 PM EDT. It killed 34, injured 1,150, completely destroyed about one-fourth of the city, and caused serious damage in another fourth of the city.cite book | last = Grazulis | first = Thomas P | title = Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991 | date = July | month = 1993 | publisher = The Tornado Project of Environmental Films | location = St. Johnsbury, VT | isbn = 1-879362-03-1 ]

Five more F5s were observed--one each in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, and two in Alabama. Twenty-eight were killed in Brandenburg, Kentucky, and 30 died in Guin, Alabama. One tornado also occurred in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, killing nine and injuring 30 others there, most of them at the former Windsor Curling Club. During the peak of the outbreak, a staggering fifteen tornadoes were on the ground simultaneously. At one point forecasters in Indiana, frustrated because they could not keep up with all of the simultaneous tornado activity, put the entire state of Indiana under a blanket tornado warning. This was the first and only time in U.S. history that an entire state was under a tornado warning. Fact|date=March 2007.

There were 18 hours of continuous tornadic activity. The outbreak finally ended in Caldwell County, NC, at about 7:00 AM on April 4, 1974. A total of 315 to 330 people were killed in 148 tornadoes and 5,484 were injured.

The Super Outbreak occurred at the end of a very strong, nearly record-setting La Niña event. The 1973–74 La Niña was just as strong as the 1998–99 La Niña. Another tornado outbreak, which may be linked to La Niña, was the March 12, 2006 tornado outbreak.Fact|date=June 2007 Despite the apparent connection between La Niña and two of the largest tornado outbreaks in US history, no definitive linkage exists between La Niña and this outbreak or tornado activity in general.

Some tornado myths were soundly debunked (not necessarily for the first time) by tornado activity during the outbreak. [ cite web | author = Slattery, Pat | title = TORNADO OUTBREAK OPENED EYES ABOUT MYTHS, SCHOOL SAFETY | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/storms/myths.html ]

List of tornadoes

Xenia, Ohio

The Xenia Tornado was the deadliest individual tornado of the Super Outbreak. The tornado started near Bellbrook, Ohio, southwest of Xenia at about 4:30 PM EDT. It initially started as a moderate-sized tornado, then intensified while moving northeast at about 50 mph (80 km/h). A passing motorist filmed the tornado at its early stages and noticed that at one point two tornadoes formed and merged into one larger tornado. Gil Whitney, who was the weather specialist for WHIO-TV in Dayton, had alerted the viewers in Montgomery, and in Greene County in which Xenia was located, about the possible tornado when he showed the supercell with the pronounced hook echo on the rear flank of the storm several minutes before it struck. The raindrops that wrapped around the funnel were the only reason why, at that time, Whitney spotted the tornadic signature [cite web|author = Simpson, Jamie | title = Radar Provides Life-Saving Warnings Of Tornadoes| publisher = WHIO-TV (Dayton, Ohio)|url =http://www.whiotv.com/severewx/2963263/detail.html|date = March 31, 2004 ]

When it reached Xenia at 4:40 PM, numerous structures were completely destroyed, including apartment buildings, homes, businesses, churches, and schools including Xenia High School. [cite web|title= History of the Xenia Community Schools' Buildings | publisher = Xenia Community Schools|url = http://www.xenia.k12.oh.us/building_history.htm|accessdate = 2008-05-09] Several railroad cars were lifted and blown over as the tornado passed over a moving freight train in the center of town. The hardest hit area, and the first area struck, was that of the Arrowhead and adjacent Windsor Park subdivisions near U.S. Route 68, where numerous houses were completely swept away. It toppled gravestones in Cherry Grove Cemetery then ran the length of the downtown business district west of the courthouse and into the Pinecrest Garden district, which was extensively affected. This still photo shows the base of the tornado as it passed Greene Memorial Hospital, destroying homes in Pinecrest Gardens northeast of downtown.

One resident recorded the tornado from inside an apartment complex. Before the tornado hit the building, the resident left the tape which continued the recording. When the cassette player was found after the storm, the tape was then made public. [ cite web | author = Ramby, Homer | title = Xenia, Ohio - Tornado - April 3, 1974 | url = http://www.xeniatornado.com/audio.htm ] . A few pictures were taken of the tornado (possibly frames of a film) as it was entering Xenia, and at least one photo was taken of the twister inside of Xenia. Also, this tornado was caught on film. A sixteen-year-old boy captured 1 minute and 42 seconds of the infamous twister with a "Super-8" 8mm movie camera. This silent film shows multiple vortices drop from the wall cloud, touch down, circle each other and join to form a large tornado as it approached from the southwest then entered the city.

After passing through Xenia the tornado passed through Wilberforce, heavily damaging university and several campus and residential buildings. [ cite web | author = Ohio History | title = April 3, 1974: Xenia Tornado | url = http://www.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/exhibits/swio/pages/content/1974_tornado.htm ] Central State University also sustained considerable damage. Afterwards, the tornado weakened and dissipated in Clark County near South Vienna after traveling nearly 30 miles (48 km). Its maximum width was a half mile (0.8 km) in Xenia. The same parent storm later spawned a weaker tornado northeast of Columbus in Franklin County.

Thirty-four were killed in the disaster (including two Ohio Air National Guard servicemen on April 17 in a fire that swept through their temporary barracks in a furniture store), and about 1,150 were injured in Xenia alone. About half of the town, or about 1,400 buildings, were damaged heavily or destroyed. Damage was estimated at $400 million (U.S.). Then-U.S. president Richard Nixon visited Xenia personally, and declared the area a Federal disaster area. It took several months for the city to recover from the tornado, with the help of the Red Cross and the Ohio National Guard assisting the recovery efforts. [ cite web | author = Ohio Memory On-line Scrapbook | title = 30th Anniversary of the 1974 Xenia Tornado | url = http://worlddmc.ohiolink.edu/OMP/YourScrapbook?scrapid=3619] ] Most of the town was quickly re-built afterward.

The Xenia tornado was rated an F5. It was one of two F5s that affected Ohio during the outbreak, the other being in the Cincinnati area (see Cincinnati/Sayler Park area tornado, below). In fact, this tornado was so intense that it is one of only two tornadoes to ever hit any part of the United States that was so strong that meteorologists were tempted to rate it as an F6 (the other one to match that level of intensity was the Moore, OK tornado that struck on May 3, 1999). Xenia was again struck by an F4 tornado in September 2000, which killed one and injured about 100 in an area just north of the 1974 path. [ cite web | author = Sharp, Debra | title = Super tornado outbreak : Xenia, Ohio, serves as twister memorial | publisher = USA Today | url =http://www.usatoday.com/weather/tornado/outbreak/wxenia74.htm | date = April 2, 1999 ] .

Prior to the 1974 storm, the city had no tornado sirens. However, after the F5 hit, ten sirens were installed across the area. At the time of the 2000 storm, there was no battery backup in the sirens, and the system was mostly silent due to a simple power outage. Compounding the problem was the fact that the National Weather Service never issued a tornado watch or warning. By the time the tornado was spotted visually, and an attempt was made to activate Xenia's sirens manually, four of the city's five sirens already had been destroyed by the tornado. Since this particular event coincided with failures of the meteorological and warning time advances since 1974, it is remarkable that casualties were not more severe. [ cite web | author = Taylor, David | title = Few warned of twister | publisher = The Cincinnati Enquirer | url = http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2000/09/22/loc_few_warned_of.html | date = September 22, 2000 ] .

A memorial was installed near Xenia City Hall to commemorate the tornado victims.

Brandenburg, Kentucky tornado

The Brandenburg tornado, also producing F5 damage, touched down in Breckinridge County at about 4:30 PM CDT and followed a 34-mile (54 km) path that struck the town of Brandenburg near the Ohio River before dissipating in Indiana. 31 were killed in the storm including 18 at a single block of Green Street in Brandenburg. [ cite web | author = Anonymous | title = Our Meade County Heritage : Forward and Dedication | publisher = The Meade County Messenger | url = http://www.april31974.com/our_meade_county_heritage.htm ] The vast majority of homes and businesses including the High School, the Baptist Church, the old bank building and the Meade Hotel were either damaged or destroyed. The radio station WMMG was also destroyed.

Several tombstones in the Cap Anderson cemetery were toppled, broken and even some were displaced a small distance. Most of the trees vanished as well.

A complete description of homes and other structures destroyed in order by the tornado in Brandenburg can be found here. [ cite web | author = Woolfolk, Betty A. | title = The Overall View of The Tornado Destruction | publisher = The Meade County Messenger | url = http://www.april31974.com/overall_destruction_brandenburg.htm ]

When the twister struck on April 3, 1974, many of the Brandenburg residents at that time had also experienced a major flood of the Ohio River that affected the area in 1937 as well as numerous other communities along the river, including Louisville and Paducah.

The same storm would later produce tornadoes in the Louisville metro area.

Louisville tornado

About an hour after the Brandendurg tornado, an F4 tornado formed in the southwest part of Jefferson County near Kosmosdale. Another funnel cloud formed over Standiford Field Airport, touched down at The Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, and destroyed the majority of the horse barns at the center and part of Freedom Hall (a multipurpose arena) before it crossed Interstate 65, scattering several vehicles on that busy expressway. The tornado continued its 22-mile (35 km) journey northeast where it demolished most of Audubon Elementary School and affected the neighborhoods of Audubon, Cherokee Triangle, Cherokee-Seneca, Crescent Hill, Indian Hills, Northfield, Rolling Hills, and Tyler Park. The tornado ended near the junction of Interstates 264 and 71 after killing two people, injuring 207 people, destroying over 900 homes, and damaging thousands of others. Cherokee Park, a historic convert|409|acre|km2|sing=on municipal park located at Eastern Parkway and Cherokee Road, had thousands of mature trees destroyed. A massive re-planting effort was undertaken by the community in the aftermath of the tornado.

In addition to the two fatalities directly associated with the event, two other deaths were indirectly associated; a heart attack in the immediate aftermath and a construction worker who fell while repairing Freedom Hall two weeks later.

Dick Gilbert, a helicopter traffic reporter for radio station WHAS-AM, followed the tornado through portions of its track including when it heavily damaged the Louisville Water Company's Crescent Hill pumping station, and gave vivid descriptions of the damage as seen from the air. A WHAS-TV cameraman also filmed the tornado when it passed just east of the Central Business District of Louisville.

WHAS-AM broke away from its regular programming shortly before the tornado struck Louisville and was on-air live with John Burke, the chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Louisville office at Standiford Field when the tornado first descended. The station remained on the air delivering weather bulletins and storm-related information until well into the early morning hours of April 4. As electrical power had been knocked out to a substantial portion of the city, the radio station became a clearinghouse for vital information and contact with emergency workers. Then-Governor Wendell Ford commended the station's personnel for their service to the community in the time of crisis, and Dick Gilbert later received a special commendation from then-President Richard Nixon for his tracking of the tornado from his helicopter.

DePauw & Madison, Indiana tornadoes

The DePauw tornado was probably the least-known of the F5 tornadoes in the outbreak as it travelled through rural areas in southern Indiana northwest of Louisville, traversing about 65 miles (104 km) through parts of Perry and Harrison Counties. F5 damage was observed near the community of Depauw while areas near Palmyra, Martinsburg and Borden were also heavily affected by the tornado. Overall, six were killed by the storm and over 75 were injured. It was the only F5 that had a path width in excess of 1 mile (1.6 km).

Soon after the Depauw tornado lifted, the Hanover/Madison F4 twister formed and travelled through Jefferson County and levelled many structures in the small towns of Hanover and Madison. Eleven were killed in this storm while an additional 300 were injured. According to a WHAS-TV Louisville reporter in a special report about the outbreak, 90% of Hanover was destroyed or severely damaged, including the Hanover College campus. Despite the fact that no one was killed or seriously injured at the college, 32 of the College’s 33 buildings were damaged, including two that were completely destroyed and six that sustained major structural damage. Hundreds of trees were down, completely blocking every campus road. All utilities were knocked out and communication with those off campus was nearly impossible. Damage to the campus alone was estimated at about $10 million US.

The same storm would later strike the Cincinnati area, producing multiple tornadoes including another F5.

Cincinnati/Sayler Park area tornado

The tornado was only one of two F5 tornadoes in recorded history to have traveled through three states, the other being the Tri-State Tornado that pummeled Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925. The Cincinnati/Sayler Park tornado traveled through portions of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

The Sayler Park tornado was among a series of tornadoes that earlier struck portions of southern Indiana from north of Brandenburg, Kentucky, to the Ohio border. It began shortly before 4:30 PM CDT or 5:30 PM EDT in southeastern Indiana in Ohio County north of Rising Sun near the Ohio River. It then traveled towards Boone County, Kentucky, before reaching its maximum strength in the western suburbs of the Cincinnati Metropolitan area. Most severely affected was Sayler Park at the western edge of the city where F5 damage occurred. Homes were swept away in a hilly area near a lake, and boats were thrown and destroyed. Other areas near Cincinnati also suffered extensive damage to structures. This tornado was witnessed on television by thousands of people, as WCPO aired the tornado live during special news coverage of the tornadoes.

Other areas affected were Bridgetown, Mack, Dent and Delhi. Damage in Delhi was rated as high as F4. [ cite web | author = Horstmeyer, Steve | title = Sayler Park Tornado - April 3, 1974 | url = http://www.shorstmeyer.com/tornadoes/1974.html ]

The second so-called "Tri-State" tornado killed 3 and injured over 100 in Hamilton County, Ohio. It was considered the most-photographed tornado of the outbreak.

This tornado dissipated west of White Oak but the same thunderstorm activity was responsible for two other tornado touchdowns in the Montgomery and Mason areas. The Mason tornado, which started in the northern Cincinnati subdivisions of Arlington Heights and Elmwood Place, was rated F4 and killed two, while the Warren County tornado was rated an F2 and injured 10.The storm that spawned this family of tornadoes weakened before moving through portions of the Miami Valley and the rest of southern Ohio.

Monticello, Indiana tornado

This half-mile (0.8 km) wide F4 tornado developed (as part of a tornado family that moved from Illinois to Michigan) during the late afternoon hours. This tornado produced the longest damage path recorded during the Super Outbreak, on a SW to NE path that nearly crossed the entire state of Indiana. This tornado formed near Otterbein in Benton County in west central Indiana to Noble County just northwest of Fort Wayne - a total distance of about 121 miles (194 km). It also struck portions of six other counties with the hardest hit being White County and its town of Monticello. Much of the town was destroyed including the courthouse, some churches and cemeteries, 40 businesses and numerous homes as well as three schools. It also heavily damaged the Penn Central bridge over the Tippecanoe River. Overall damage according to the NOAA was estimated at about $250 million US with $100 million US damage in Monticello alone.

Other communities such as Rochester and Ligonier were hard hit.

Nineteen were killed during the storm including five from Fort Wayne when their mini-bus fell 50 feet (15 m) into the Tippecanoe River near Monticello. One passenger did survive the fall. [ cite web | author = Anonymous | title = Monticello, Indiana April 3, 1974 : Fort Wayne Girl Survives Van's Plunge | publisher = The Monticello Herald Journal | url = http://www.april31974.com/monticelloin_page2.htm#Business%20District%20Sustained%20Major%20Damage ] Five others were killed in White County, six in Fulton County and one in Kosciusko County. [ cite web | author = NOAA | title = Storm Events | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~storms ] The National Guard had assisted the residents in the relief and cleanup efforts and then-Governor Otis Bowen visited the area days after the storm.

One of the only consolations from the tornado was that a century-old bronze bell that belonged to the White County Courthouse and served as timekeeper was found intact despite being thrown a great distance. [ cite web | author = Anonymous | title = Monticello, Indiana April 3, 1974 : 122-year-old Bell Survives | publisher = The Monticello Herald Journal | url = http://www.april31974.com/monticelloin_page3.htm#122-year-old%20Bell%20Survives ]

The tornado itself had contradicted a long-time myth that a tornado would "not follow terrain into steep valleys" as while hitting Monticello, it descended a 60-foot (18 m) hill near the Tippecanoe River and damaged several homes afterwards. [ cite web | author = Slattery, Pat | title = TORNADO OUTBREAK OPENED EYES ABOUT MYTHS, SCHOOL SAFETY | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/storms/myths.html ]

Tanner, Alabama tornadoes

As the cluster of thunderstorms were crossing much of the Ohio Valley and northern Indiana, additional strong storms developed much further south just east of the Mississippi River into the Tennessee Valley and Mississippi. The first clusters would produced it first deadly tornadoes into Alabama during the early evening hours.

Most of the small town of Tanner located west of Huntsville in Limestone County was destroyed when two violent tornadoes struck the community 30 minutes apart. The first tornado cut a swath of over 80 miles (128 km) through several counties in northwest Alabama, continuing into south central Tennessee. The first tornado formed at 6:30 PM CDT in Franklin County, Alabama and ended just over 90 minutes later in Franklin County, Tennessee. Eyewitnesses reported that the tornado was quite large and demolished everything along its path.

While rescue efforts were underway to look for people under the destroyed structures, few were aware that another equally violent tornado would strike the area. The path of the second tornado, which formed at 7:35 PM CDT was much shorter than the first, but otherwise closely paralleled its predecessor. Many of the structures that were missed by the first tornado in Tanner were demolished along with remaining portions of already damaged structures.

Many other structures in Franklin, Limestone and Madison counties were completely demolished, including significant portions of the communities of Harvest and Hazel Green just northeast of Tanner. [ cite web | author = NWS Birmingham | title = The April 3rd and 4th 1974 Tornado Outbreak in Alabama | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/significant_events/1974/april_1974_superoutbreak/index.php] | date = March 22, 2006 (last modified) ] The death toll from the two tornadoes was over 50 and over 400 were injured. Most of the fatalities occurred in and around the Tanner area. Over 1,000 houses, 200 mobile homes and numerous other outbuildings, automobiles, power lines and trees were completely demolished or heavily damaged.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, another (although weaker) tornado followed roughly the same path as the first Tanner tornado. Numerous killer tornadoes were reported in that state between Nashville and Knoxville including one from the same supercell in Franklin County killing at least 11.

At least the first of the Tanner tornadoes is rated as an F5 according to most sources. However, NWS record shows that both of them were rated the highest-scale. [ cite web | author = NOAA | title = Storm Events | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~storms ] [ cite web | author = Storm Prediction Center | title = F5 Tornadoes of the United States : 1950-present | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/f5torns.html ]

The rating of the second Tanner tornado is still disputed by scientists and some of the regional NWS offices. Nevertheless, a tornado that later struck Guin just south of the first Tanner tornado was also rated an F5 (See below).

This was the second state to have been hit by more than two F5's during the Super Outbreak. The next occurrence of two F5's hitting the same state on the same day happened in March 1990 in Kansas. Meanwhile, the next F5 to hit the state was on April 4, 1977 near Birmingham

Jasper, Guin & Huntsville, Alabama tornadoes

While tornadoes were causing devastation in the northwestern most corner of the state, another supercell crossing the Mississippi-Alabama state line produced another violent tornado that touched down in Pickens County before heading northeast for nearly 2 hours towards the Jasper area causing major damage to its downtown as the F4 storm struck at about 8:00 PM CDT. Damage was also reported in Cullman County from the storm before it lifted. The storm killed at least 3 and injured over 150 while 500 buildings were destroyed and nearly 400 others severely damaged. At the same time, a third supercell was crossing the state line near the track of the previous two .

The Guin tornado was the longest-duration F5 tornado recorded in the outbreak. It formed at around 8:50 PM CDT near the Mississippi-Alabama border and traveled over 100 miles (160 km) to just west of Huntsville and lifted just after 10:30 PM CDT; the formation of this tornado was preceded by a number of reports of large hail and straight-line wind damage around Starkville, MS. The path of the Guin tornado was just a few dozen miles south of where the Tanner tornadoes struck about two hours earlier.

The tornado killed 23 in Guin in Marion County and another five in the community of Delmar in Winston County. Close to 300 people in total were injured, and Guin was left in ruins.

A large number of homes (over 500) were leveled and the Bankhead National Forest lost a considerable number of trees when the tornado hit.

Huntsville was affected shortly later by a strong F3 tornado produced by the same thunderstorm; this tornado produced heavy damage in the south end of the city, destroying nearly 1,000 structures. The tornado then reached the Monte Sano Mountain, which has an altitude of 1,640 feet (492 m). [cite web| author = NOAA| title = NOAA and the 1974 Tornado Outbreak | publisher = NOAA | url = http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/storms/alabama.html|accessdate = 2008-02-04 ] [ cite web|author = NWS Birmingham|title = Alabama Tornado Database (1974 tornadoes) | publisher = NOAA| url = http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/tornadoes/1974.php| accessdate = 2008-02-05 ]

Windsor, Ontario, Canada tornado

In addition to its numerous other records, this outbreak also spawned one of the deadliest tornadoes in Canadian history. Affecting Windsor, Ontario and surrounding areas in southwestern Essex County, the F3 twister killed nine people and injured over 20. Most of the fatalities occurred inside a rink (the former Windsor Curling Club) near the downtown area that was heavily damaged. Much of the city was briefly flooded with around 6 inches of water from the rain the storm brought, and trees in Cherokee Park being defoliated with nearby houses damaged or destroyed, in a path roughly 200-300 metres wide having the most damage.

While it was the only tornado reported in Canada from the outbreak, it was the country's deadliest since 1946, when a tornado killed 17 – coincidentally, less than one mile (1.6 km) from the path of this tornado.

See also

* List of tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
** List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
** List of Canadian tornadoes
* List of tornadoes striking downtown areas
* List of F5 and EF5 tornadoes
* National Geographic "Seconds From Disaster" episodes

References

Further reading

* "Tornado! the 1974 super outbreak", by Jacqueline A. Ball; consultant, Daniel H. Franck. New York: Bearport Pub., 2005. 32 pages. ISBN 1-59716-009-1 (lib. bdg), 1597160326 (paperback).
* "Tornado at Xenia, April 3, 1974", by Barbara Lynn Riedel; photography by Peter Wayne Kyryl. Cleveland, OH, 1974. 95 pages. No ISBN is available. Library of Congress Control Number: 75314665.
* "Tornado", by Polk Laffoon IV. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. 244 pages. ISBN 0-06-012489-X.
* "Tornado alley: monster storms of the Great Plains", by Howard B. Bluestein. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 180 pages. ISBN 0-19-510552-4 (acid-free paper).
* "Delivery of mental health services in disasters: the Xenia tornado and some implications", by Verta A. Taylor, with G. Alexander Ross and E. L. Quarantelli. Columbus, OH: Disaster Research Center, Ohio State University, 1976. 328 pages. There is no ISBN available. Library of Congress Control Number: 76380740.
*"The widespread tornado outbreak of April 3-4, 1974: a report to the Administrator". Rockville, Md: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1974. 42 pages. There is no ISBN available. Library of Congress Control Number: 75601597.
*"The tornado", by John Edward Weems. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977. 180 pages. ISBN 0-385-07178-7.
*cite book
first = William S. (editor)
last = Butler
year = 2004
title = Tornado: A look back at Louisville's dark day, April 3, 1974. A 30th Anniversary Publication
publisher = Butler Books
id =176 pages. ISBN 1-884532-58-6

*cite book
first = Robert E., "et al." (editor) with an introduction by John Ed Pearce
last = Deitz
year = 1974
title = April 3, 1974: Tornado!
publisher = The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times
id = 128 pages. Library of Congress Catalog Number 74-80806

*cite book
first = Ray J. with Robin Garr, Phyllis Morrisette, Jay Harris, Dave Knapp, Tom Scott, Terry Cowan, Mary Ann Woosley, Allen Hammer (editorial staff)
last = Hartsfield
year = 1974
title = April 3, 1974: The Kentucky Tornadoes
publisher = C. F. Boone, Publisher
id = 96 pages

* Mark Levine, American Tornado: Devastation, Survival and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the Twentieth Century (Ebury Press, London, August 2007)

External links

* [http://lkyradio.com/WHAS.htm#tornado "WHAS Radio Covers the April 3, 1974 Tornado Disaster," excellent-quality recorded coverage of the tornado at LKYRadio.com]
* [http://archives.cbc.ca/500f.asp?id=1-70-1713-11766&wm6=1 1974 Windsor Tornado - CBC Archives]
* [http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/storms/ NOAA and the 1974 Tornado Outbreak]
* [http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/extremes/1999/april/extremes0499.html Super Tornado Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974] (National Climatic Data Center)
* [http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ind/april31974.php April 3, 1974 Superoutbreak] (NWS Indianapolis, IN)
* [http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/program_areas/events/historical/superoutbreak1974/index.php Super Outbreak of April 3rd 1974] (NWS Northern Indiana)
* [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/significant_events/1974/april_1974_superoutbreak/index.php The April 3rd and 4th 1974 Tornado Outbreak in Alabama] (NWS Birmingham, AL)
* [http://ams.confex.com/ams/11aram22sls/techprogram/paper_82203.htm The Super Outbreak: Outbreak of the Century] (22nd Conference on Severe Local Storms, American Meteorological Society)
* [http://ams.confex.com/ams/11aram22sls/techprogram/paper_81713.htm Potential insurance losses from a major tornado outbreak: the 1974 Super Outbreak example] (22nd Conference on Severe Local Storms, American Meteorological Society)
* [http://www.april31974.com A website dedicated to the Super Outbreak]
* [http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialreports/sotc/storm2/page1.html The Weather Channel's "Storm of the Century" list - #2 The Super Outbreak]
* [http://www.whas11.com/cgi-bin/bi/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.whas11.com/tornado006.wmv Super Outbreak 30th Anniversary Special (WHAS Louisville)]
* [http://www.whas11.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.whas11.com/tornado007.wmv WHAS April 3, 1974 Live Breaking News Coverage part 1]
* [http://www.whas11.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.whas11.com/tornado008.wmv WHAS April 3, 1974 Live Breaking News Coverage part 2]
* [http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/tornado.php?yr=1974&mo=April&day=3-4&st=Any&fu=Any&co=Any&l=500&submit=Map&ddat=on&dsta=on&dfuj=on&dfat=on&dinj=on&dcou=on&format=advanced&p=1&s=1 The Super Outbreak of April 3-4, 1974 at the Tornado History Project] Includes detailed statistics and maps
* [http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/tornadoes/1974.php 1974 Alabama tornado table including tornadoes from the Super Outbreak - Courtesy of NWS Birmingham, Alabama]


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