June 2, 1990 Tornado Outbreak

 

On June 2, 1990, a large and widespread tornado outbreak occurred across parts of the Midwest and Ohio Valley. Through the early morning of June 3, there were a total of 65 tornadoes, 37 of which occurred across Indiana.

The most heavily damaged area was from Southeast Illinois through Southern Indiana and into Southwestern Ohio. There were several strong to violent tornadoes across this corridor including seven that were determined to be F4 in intensity on the Fujita scale.

Tornado Tracks - Click to Enlarge

Tornado Tracks from the June 2-3, 1990 Tornado Outbreak
(Click to Enlarge)

There was also a swath of weak to strong tornadoes from East Central Illinois through Central Indiana and more isolated tornadoes across Northern Indiana, Southeastern Lower Michigan and Southern Kentucky.

For Indiana, the 37 tornadoes was a record for one day (previously 21 on April 3, 1974), and the monthly total of 44 tornadoes (previously 30 in June 1973) was also a record. It also deadliest tornado outbreak since April 3, 1974 as 12 Hoosiers lost their lives, 7 in Petersburg.

According to Red Cross surveys of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky found 313 homes (237 in Indiana) and 141 mobile homes (106 in Indiana) destroyed and another 892 homes (665 in Indiana) and 173 mobile homes damaged (158 in Indiana) in addition to the numerous uprooted trees and destroyed barns.

Below is a surface map showing fronts and observations early on June 2. Map courtesy of the NOAA Library.

Surface Map of June 2 - Click to Enlarge

Indiana was covered by 2 tornado watches during the day. Click the images below to see a larger version. Images courtesy of the Paducah NWS office.

First Tornado Watch, click to enlarge

Second tornado watch - click to enlarge

 The text of a Public Severe Weather Outlook issued at 11:00 AM EST by the precursor to the Storm Prediction Center (SELS) follows below (courtesy of NWS Paducah):

...OUTBREAK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOES FORECAST ACROSS PARTS OF THE GREAT LAKES...OHIO
AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEYS... THE NATIONAL SEVERE STORMS FORECAST CENTER IN KANSAS CITY MISSOURI IS FORECASTING AN OUTBREAK OF SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOES FROM EASTERN SECTIONS OF THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ACROSS MUCH OF THE
LOWER OHIO VALLEY TO THE GREAT LAKES REGION.
THE STATES MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THE BRUNT OF THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY INCLUDE
ILLINOIS...INDIANA...EASTERN PORTIONS OF MISSOURI AND IOWA...CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN WISCONSION...
MUCH OF LOWER MICHIGAN...WESTERN OHIO AND NORTHERN AND WESTERN KENTUCKY.
AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG STORM SYSTEM CURRENTLY OVER THE CENTRAL PLAINS IS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHENAS IT 
MOVES QUICKLY NORTHEASTWARD TO THE GREAT LAKES REGION TONIGHT. A STRONG COLD FRONT EXTENDED FROM AN
INTENSE SURFACE LOW OVER EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA ACROSS WESTERN SECTIONS OF IOWA AND MISSOURI INTO
EASTERN OKLAHOMA AND NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS AT MID MORNING. THIS COLD FRONT IS FORECAST TO MOVE QUICKLY
EASTWARD ACROSS THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI AND LOWER VALLEYS AS WELL AS THE GREAT LAKES REGION THIS
AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. SOUTHERLY WINDS AHEAD OF THE FRONT WILL DRAW MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR NORTHWARD
ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI AND OHIO VALLEYS INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION. VERY STRONG WINDS ALOFT COMBINED
WITH THE MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR MASS WILL RESULT IN SEVERE THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT ALONG AND AHEAD OF
THE COLD FRONT OVER THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY BY EARLY AFTERNOON. LINES OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
ARE THEN FORECAST TO MOVE QUICKLY EASTWARD ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES AND WESTERN SECTIONS OF THE OHIO
VALLEY THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE DESTRUCTIVE
TORNADOES...DAMAGING WINDS AND LARGE HAIL THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. AGAIN...IT IS EMPHASIZED THAT
THIS IS A DANGEROUS WEATHER SITUATION FOR PARTS OF MISSOURI...IOWA...ILLINOIS...INDIANA...WISCONSIN
MICHIGAN...OHIO...AND KENTUCKY.
ISOLATED SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE ALONG THE COLD FRONT IN MINNESOTA...ARKANSAS...WESTERN
TENNESSEE...NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI...NORTHERN LOUISIANA...AND TEXAS. ALL INTERESTS IN THESE STATES
SHOULD BE ALERT FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
ALL PERSONS IN THE THREATENED AREA ARE URGED TO REVIEW SAFETY RULES AND LISTEN TO RADIO...TV..OR NOAA
WEATHER RADIO FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WATCHES OR WARNINGS. THIS IS A POTENTIALLY
DANGEROUS SITUATION FOR THE AFFECTED AREAS AND SHOULD BE MONITORED CLOSELY.

Below is the text of a Severe Weather Statement issued by the Indianapolis NWS Office at about 7:05 PM June 2:

...PLEASE ANNOUNCE IMMEDIATELY...









THIS IS AN URGENT APPEAL FOR ALL TORNADO SPOTTER ORGANIZATIONS TO ACTIVATE IN CENTRAL AND EAST CENTRAL
INDIANA.
NUMEROUS TORNADOES REPORTED ON THE GROUND MAKE THIS THE MOST SERIOUS OUTBREAK OF TORNADOES IN SEVERAL
YEARS.
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES...THE LINE OF STORMS AT 730 PM WILL BE NEAR ELWOOD...SOUTH THROUGH CENTRAL
INDIANAPOLIS AND TO BLOOMINGTON.

BY AROUND 815 PM THE STORMS WILL HAVE MOVED EAST TO BETWEEN MUNCIE AND WINCHESTER...TO EAST OF
NEW CASTLE...SHELBYVILLE...AND SOUTH TO COLUMBUS.

THIS IS AVERY DANGEROUS SITUATION...ALL INTERESTS SHOULD MONITOR THIS SAME SOURCE FOR ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION.

Below are some photos from June 2, 1990

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Tornado near Loogootee. Photo by Deputy Sheriff Tony Dant. Tornado at Loogootee. Photo from Loogootee Tribune.  Tornado in rural area between Monroe City and Petersburg. Petersburg would suffer more deaths than any other town on June 2, 1990. Photo by Bill Stedman. Aerial view of damage on the south side of Bedford near the intersection of State Roads 37 and 50. Photo from the Bloomington Herald Times.

 

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