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Lincoln Weather and Climate

Top Ten Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes

THE TOP TEN DEADLIEST TORNADOES IN U.S. HISTORY (includes a Nebraska Tornado)


695 deaths. March 18, 1925, in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
The tri-state tornado remains the deadliest in U.S. history.
It crossed from southeastern Missouri, through southern Illinois and then into southwestern Indiana. The tornado carried sheets of iron as far as 50miles away and obliterated entire towns and injured more than 2,000 people.


216 deaths. April 5, 1936, in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The 1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreak was an outbreakof at least 12 tornadoesthat struck the Southeastern U.S.from April 5–6, 1936. Making its way toward Tupelo, the massive tornado killed a family of 13 as their house was swept away, and injured many more before reaching Tupelo's west side. Retroactively rated F5 on the modern Fujita scale, caused total destruction along its path through the Willis Heights neighborhood. Dozens of large and well built mansions were swept completely away in this area. The Tupelo tornado leveled 48 city blocks and as many as 900 homes,


203 deaths. April 6, 1936, in Gainesville, Georgia
The tornado outbreak over two days caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage across the region.  The Tupelo tornado destroyed more than 200 homes, sweeping many into Gum Pond along with the residents. It killed whole families, including one of 13. The following day the Gainesville tornado - a double tornado event - emerged. It destroyed the Cooper Pants Factory, killing 70 workers - the highest tornado death toll from a single building in U.S. history.  


181 deaths. April 9, 1947, in Woodward, Oklahoma
The Woodward tornado is the most deadly to ever strike the state of Oklahoma.  It was almost two miles wide and traveled for 100 miles at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. More than 100 blocks in Woodward were leveled and over 1,000 homes and businesses destroyed.


158 deaths. May 22, 2011, in Joplin, Missouri
The one-mile wide tornado was the third to strike the town of Joplin since 1971. More than 1,000 people were injured and almost $3billion worth of damage was caused. Local media reported that more than half of the 158 who died were killed inside their homes.


143 deaths. April 24, 1908, in Amite, Louisiana, and Purvis, Mississippi
Most of the people killed were in rural areas. Many historians believe the death toll was higher than official records state as many the deaths of many African-American may not have been properly recorded. Both the Amite and Purvis tornadoes were rated as F4 - the second strongest possible - and injured hundreds of people.  


116 deaths. June 8, 1953, in Flint, Michigan
It is the deadliest tornado to strike Michigan and injured more than 800 people. The Flint tornado, which traveled at speeds of 35mph, is rated as a F5 on the Fujita scale - the strongest possible. Of the 116 people killed, all but three died on a four-mile stretch of Coldwater Road.


114 deaths. May 11, 1953 in Waco, Texas
The Waco tornado killed 22 people as it destroyed the packed Dennis Building and a 12 died in cars crushed in the street.  Almost 200 businesses and factories were destroyed, causing $41.2million worth of damage. The deadly tornado spurred the development of a nationwide severe weather warnings system.


114 deaths. May 18, 1902 in Goliad, Texas
The tornado leveled churches, as well as more than 200 homes and businesses. Of those killed, 50 people died as they sought shelter in a black Methodist church in Goliad.


103 deaths. March 23, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska
The tornado struck on Easter Sunday at about 6pm, with little or no warning. It was so strong that steel train cars were later found pierced by pieces of debris from destroyed houses.