Great Natchez Tornado

Great Natchez Tornado

Template:Info box tornado single

The Great Natchez Tornado hit Natchez, Mississippi on May 7, 1840. It is the second deadliest single tornado in United States history, killing 317 people (the only tornado in the United States to have killed more people was the Tri-State Tornado). It is also the only recorded massive tornado in the U.S.A. that killed more people than it injured: only 109 were injured. The Fujita scale rating of this tornado is almost certainly an F5 but since there was no Fujita scale at the time, this tornado remains uncategorized.


Event description

The tornado formed southwest of Natchez, shortly before 1 p.m., and moved northeast along the Mississippi River.

The vortex then struck the riverport of Natchez Landing, located below the bluff from Natchez. The mile-wide tornado tossed 60 flatboats into the river, drowning their crews and passengers. A piece of a steamboat window was reportedly found 30 miles (50 km) from the river. Many doing business onshore were also killed. At Natchez Landing, the destruction of dwellings, stores, steamboats and flatboats was almost complete.

It then moved into the town of Natchez, though its full width of devastation also included the river and the Louisiana village of Vidalia, across the river. The central and northern portions of Natchez were slammed by the funnel and many buildings were completely destroyed.


The final death toll was 48 on land (with 47 deaths in Natchez and one in Vidalia) and 269 on the river, mostly from the sinking of flatboats.

See also

Senate Document No. 199 (27th Congress, 2nd Session) was the report of the Commission to fix the demarcation between the United States and the Republic of Texas. In the Journal of the Joint Commission under date of May 26, 1840 at page 62 of said document, is written the following:

"We crossed to-day the path of a recent tornado, which had prostrated trees and cane on the river banks. Its course was observed to be from south 72 degrees west to north 72 degrees east, and the track to be from three to four hundred yards wide. This was supposed to be the same tornado which occasioned such dreadful destruction of human lives and houses in Natchez on the 7th of May."

These observations were made on the Sabine River which is the boundary between Louisiana and Texas.


External links

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