near LaPorte, Indiana, October 24, 2001

 

The tornado outbreak of October 24, 2001, was the most significant tornado outbreak ever to hit this area (see map below) in October.  It was our largest outbreak in over 27 years!

 

Northern Indiana office's area of responsibility

The Northern Indiana National Weather Service office's area of responsibility

 

...Across the CWA...
Ten tornadoes spun across the Northern Indiana National Weather Service office's area of responsibility (or, "County Warning Area", abbreviated "CWA"), ranging in strength from F0 to F3 on the Fujita Scale.  This is the largest outbreak since April 3, 1974, when we encountered 16 tornadoes.  The Palm Sunday Outbreak on April 11, 1965 gave us 10 tornadoes.

The death in LaPorte County was the first tornado-related death ever reported in the CWA in October.  The last tornado-related death in the CWA was in Steuben County on March 27, 1991 when an F3-strength tornado swept through.  The last one before that was back on March 12, 1976, as an F1 tornado briefly touched down in New Haven, Indiana.  

In January 2002, a man died from injuries sustained when the Crumstown tornado knocked a wall onto him on the west side of South Bend.

After this year's outbreak, the next largest October tornado outbreaks occurred on October 8, 1992 (four tornadoes, of F1 and F2 strength, in Grant, Huntington, and Allen Indiana counties), and, coincidentally, October 24, 1967 (four tornadoes, of F1 and F2 intensity, in Elkhart, Kosciusko, and St Joseph Indiana counties).

A tornado that passed from LaPorte County into St Joseph County (Indiana) had a (skipping) path length of 35 miles, a tornado that traveled from Marshall across Kosciusko into Noble County stayed on the ground for 39 miles, a twister that moved from Van Wert into Putnam counties traveled 32 miles, and a tornado that went from St Joseph County (Indiana) into Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph counties (Michigan) had a path length of 47 miles (intermittent).  All of these tornadoes beat the old October tornado path length record of 14 miles set in Steuben County on October 1, 1986.

The tornado in Hillsdale County was the 500th tornado recorded in the present-day area of responsibility of the Northern Indiana office since 1834.

October tornadoes in the CWA (all times are EST):

Date Strength Location Time Killed Injured Width Length
October 6, 1955 F1 Wells County 7:30pm 0 0
October 24, 1967 F2 Elkhart County 5:10pm 0 0
October 24, 1967 F1 Elkhart County 5:30pm 0 0
October 24, 1967 F2 Kosciusko County 5:40pm 0 5
October 24, 1967 F1 St Joseph County, Indiana 5:40pm 0 0
October 23, 1971 F1 Cass County, Indiana 3:30pm 0 0
October 5, 1978 F1 Lagrange County 3:20pm 0 0
October 1, 1979 F0 Wabash County 7:10pm 0 0
October 1, 1979 F0 Whitley County 7:30pm 0 0
October 6, 1979 F0 Berrien County 11:02am 0 0 60 yards brief touchdown
October 6, 1979 F0 LaPorte County 1:36pm 0 0
October 17, 1981 F0 Marshall County 10:50pm 0 0 150 yards 2 miles
October 1, 1986 F0 Steuben County 4:20pm 0 0 10 yards 14 miles
October 1, 1986 F0 Williams County 4:46pm 0 0 10 yards 2 miles
October 16, 1988 F2 Elkhart County 4:23pm 0 0 40 yards 6 miles
October 8, 1992 F1 Grant County 5:25pm 0 0 20 yards 1 mile
October 8, 1992 F1 Huntington County 5:37pm 0 0 20 yards 4 miles
October 8, 1992 F1 Huntington County 5:45pm 0 0 20 yards 2 miles
October 8, 1992 F2 Allen County, Indiana 6:00pm 0 9 20 yards 2 miles
October 24, 2001 F2 LaPorte and St Joseph Indiana 3:15pm 1 0 1760 yards 35 miles (skipping)
October 24, 2001 F3 St Joseph Indiana, Berrien, Cass Michigan 3:50pm 1 0 1320 yards 47 miles
October 24, 2001 F1 Marshall, Kosciusko, and Noble 4:15pm 0 14 150 yards 39 miles
October 24, 2001 F1 St Joseph Indiana and Elkhart 4:30pm 0 0 50 yards 2.5 miles
October 24, 2001 F2 St Joseph Indiana and Elkhart 4:30pm 0 2 1320 yards 7.5 miles
October 24, 2001 F1 St Joseph Michigan 4:40pm 0 1 400 yards 4 miles
October 24, 2001 F2 Noble, DeKalb, and Steuben 5:00pm 0 0 440 yards 12.5 miles
October 24, 2001 F1 St Joseph Michigan 5:10pm 0 0 400 yards 5 miles
October 24, 2001 F1 Hillsdale 6:00pm 0 0 60 yards 2 miles
October 24, 2001 F3 Van Wert and Putnam 6:35pm 0 0 1320 yards 32 miles

...F3-strength twisters hit Saint Joseph County Indiana and Putnam County Ohio...
The tornado that produced F3 damage in St Joseph County was the first F3-strength tornado ever recorded in the CWA in October.  Two hours and forty-five minutes later another F3 tornado struck, in Van Wert and Putnam counties (the tornado was not yet F3 strength in Van Wert County).  These were the strongest tornadoes observed in the CWA since February 18, 1992, when an F4 tornado struck southern Van Wert County, Ohio.

...Across Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan...
The F3 tornadoes in St Joseph County Indiana and Putnam County Ohio were the strongest tornadoes seen in these three states since an F4 tornado hit Greenfield in Hancock County, Indiana, on June 11, 1998.  Also that day, F3 tornadoes struck Greentown (Howard County, Indiana) and Cumberland (Marion County, Indiana).

Only four other October tornadoes have resulted in loss of life in these three states:
October 2, 1880:  An F3 tornado killed 2 people along its 15-mile-long path across the Michigan counties of Barry, Eaton, and Calhoun.
October 11, 1912:  One person was killed in Gratiot County, Michigan.
October 11, 1954:  An F3 tornado resulted in two fatalities in Johnson County, Indiana during its five miles on the ground.
October 1, 1977:  One life was lost in Harrison County, Indiana.

Because no F4 or F5 tornadoes have ever been recorded in these three states in October, the F3's in St Joseph County and Putnam County this year tied for the strongest October tornadoes on record.  The other F3 tornadoes were:

Date Location Time Injured Killed Width Length
October 2, 1880 Barry, Eaton, and Calhoun counties, Michigan 3:30pm 8 2 400 yards 15 miles
October 16, 1928 Posey and Vanderburgh counties, Indiana 1:30pm 1 0 100 yards 12 miles
October 11, 1954 Johnson County, Indiana 2:15pm 10 2 100 yards 5 miles
October 24, 1967 Dubois County, Indiana 3:45pm 1 0    
October 24, 1967 Porter County, Indiana 3:53pm 0 0    
October 1, 1977 Hamilton County, Ohio 7:10am 17 0 150 yards 0.7 miles
October 12, 1978 Columbiana County, Ohio 5:25pm 4 0 250 yards 7 miles
October 13, 1999 Pickaway County, Ohio 4:00pm 6 0 440 yards 4 miles
October 24, 2001 St Joseph Indiana, Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph Michigan 3:50pm 0 1 1320 yards 47 miles
October 24, 2001 Van Wert and Putnam 6:35pm 0 0 1320 yards 32 miles

Questions or Comments on the October Tornadoes Page can be sent to iwx.webmaster@noaa.gov



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