Tornadoes of March 27, 1890

March 27, 1890
Counties:  Hancock (from Daviess)
F-scale:  F2
Deaths: 2
Injuries:  15
Path width: 
Path length:  10 miles
Time:  7:00pm
Narrative:  One of central Kentucky's darkest days began when a tornado moved northeast from south of Knottsville to north of Patesville.  Two people died in homes that were destroyed.

March 27, 1890
Counties:  Jefferson KY, Clark IN
F-scale:  F4
Deaths:  76
Injuries:  200
Path width:  300 yards
Path length:  15 miles
Time:  7:57pm
Narrative:  One of the most devastating tornadoes to ever strike Kentucky.  This historic event may have actually started in Harrison County IN, but is traditionally plotted from west of Shively, Kentucky, in western Jefferson County.  The tornado moved north-northeast and northeast through the Parkland neighborhood (Twenty-eighth and Dumesnil), leveling a few homes.  This F4 damage was the only clear example of F4 strength winds along the path.  However, when the tornado entered the city of Louisville it was 200 yards wide and grew to 500 yards wide as it plowed through the central business district downtown.  Multi-story downtown buildings were hit by the tornado and subsequently collapsed.  At least 44 deaths occurred at the Falls City Hall (1124 West Market Street).  The building collapsed with 200 people inside; 75 at a lodge meeting on the upper floor and 125 children with their mothers taking dancing lessons on the lower floor.  This was one of the highest tornado death totals in a single building ever recorded in the United States.  Damage totalled $2.5 million (1890 dollars) in Jefferson County, with another half a million dollars with F2 intensity damage in Jeffersonville IN...along with 20 injuries.  The tornado then turned to the right and re-crossed the Ohio River, coming back into Louisville dissipating near the present-day intersection of Zorn Avenue and River Road after badly damaging the city water tower.  5 churches, 7 railroad depots, 2 public halls, 3 schools, 10 tobacco warehouses, 32 manufacturing plants and 532 dwellings were destroyed by the tornado.  Union Station was crushed as well.  The next morning the newspaper called the storm "the whirling tiger of the air".  The city organized crews of 60 men each who worked day and night searching the wreckage, along with families and friends. Sightseers started arriving the next day, and the Guard was called to control the crowds. The City refused any outside aid. The Board of Trade organized a relief committee to oversee the recovery, and the Board also authorized $15,000 in pensions to widows and orphans of the storm. 

March 27, 1890
Counties:  Ohio, Grayson, Breckinridge, Hardin
F-scale:  F4
Deaths:  7
Injuries:  40
Path width:  1200 yards
Path length:  60 miles (probably a family of tornadoes)
Time:  8:00pm
Narrative:  Moved east-northeast from seven miles northwest of Hartford.  Many miles of forest were leveled, and small farm communities were wiped out.  Homes were said to have "vanished" near Sulphur Springs (where two people were killed) and near Falls of Rough (where three people were killed).  The last damage was near Rineyville, where two people were killed in one home.

March 27, 1890
Counties:  Shelby, Henry
F-scale:  F3
Deaths: 3
Injuries:  10
Path width:  150 yards
Path length:  5 miles
Time:  8:15pm
Narrative:  Moved northeast from four miles south of Eminence, passing one mile north of Pleasureville.  Four farm houses were destroyed, and three members of a family were killed in one of them.

March 27, 1890
Counties:  Allen, Barren
F-scale:  F3
Deaths:  4
Injuries:  25
Path width:  600 yards
Path length:  15 miles
Time:  9:00pm
Narrative:  Moved northeast from five miles south of Scottsville to near Tracy.  Four people were killed in Allen County as at least three homes were destroyed.  Death toll may have been as high as 17.

Morning Weather Map

Weather Map March 27, 1890


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