Tornadoes are one of mother nature’s most devastating disasters. With the United States positioned in prime territory for these twisting terrors, the National Climatic Data Center estimates we receive an average of 1,000 tornadoes a year. Most of these tornadoes are small, causing little to no damage. Some, however, cause extreme damage and often kill a lot of people. These are the tornadoes featured in this list.
10. The Flint-Beecher Tornado
The largest recorded tornado to ever touch down in Michigan was the “Flint-Beecher” tornado. It landed on June 8th, 1953 in Genesee County and traveled 27 miles before dissipating. It caused an estimated $19,000,000 in damage, injured 844 people and killed 116.
9. New Richmond Tornado
Landing in New Richmond, Wisconsin, this massive tornado nearly leveled the entire city. The death count was 117 people and 125 injured. It’s estimated this June 12th, 1899 twister caused $300,000 in damage, which is roughly equal to $8,000,000 today. Over 500 building were destroying, leaving nothing more than a couple churches.
8. Amite Pine Purvis Tornadoes
In 1908 a series of tornadoes ripped through several towns in Louisiana. This tornado was said to have left a path of destruction 2 miles wide, while killing a number of people hiding in train box cars. The cars were flipped and thrown over 150 feet. This storm injured over 700 people and left 143 dead.
7. 2011 Joplin Tornado
The tornado that passed through Joplin, MS in 2011 set several records. It was the deadliest US tornado in more than half a century, causing $2.8 billion dollars in damage, killing 158 people and injuring over 1,000. It stayed on the ground for approximately 22 miles and slung wind speeds around 200 MPH.
6. The Woodward Tornado
The “Woodward Tornado” traveled from Texas to Oklahoma on a 125 mile path of destruction. Killing 181 people, this monster storm is often compared to the deadliest tornado in the United States history due to the amount of miles it traveled before breaking apart. By the time this storm passed on April 9th, 1947, it claimed 181 lives.
5. Gainesville Tornado
This deadly tornado touched down on April 6th, 1936 in Gainesville, Georgia. It ripped through four blocks, leveling some 750 houses on it’s trip through the Southeastern United States. A series of storms produced a number tornadoes that day, killing hundreds. This particular tornado injured over 1,600 people while killing 203.
4. The Tupelo Tornado
Just a day before the Gainesville tornado, the Tupelo tornado wrecked it’s way through northeastern Mississippi city (April 5th, 1936). It’s powerful winds injured 700 people, destroyed countless building and killed 216 people.
3. St. Louis Tornado of 1896
The “St. Louis Tornado” of 1896 possessed wind speeds between 207 – 260 mph, ripping it’s way through St. Louis. This deadly tornado injured around 1,000 people and killed 255.
2. The Natchez Tornado
Way back in the 1840’s, a killer tornado set path along the Mississippi river, traveling through Mississippi and Louisiana. While the actual death toll is relatively “unknown,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency explains that 317 people were killed, but the death count may or may not include slaves.
1. The Tri-State Tornado
Without doubt, the “Tri-State Tornado” was the deadliest tornado in the history of the United States. This frightening storm traveled over 200 miles from Missouri to Illinois, then to Indiana. It touched down on March 18th, 1925 and registered as an F5, the maximum rating on the fujita scale. The final death count was 695 people, more than twice as many deaths as the 2nd most deadly tornado in U.S. history.