Tornadoes of May 9, 1933

May 9, 1933
Counties:  Monroe, Cumberland, Adair, Russell
F-scale:  F4
Deaths:  36
Injuries:  87
Path width:  800 yards
Path length:  60 miles (probably a family of tornadoes)
Time:  8:30pm
Notes:  This historic event began around 8pm when there was 30 minutes of rain and hail in Tompkinsville, followed by five minutes of absolute calm.  The calm was shattered when a tornado touched down just southwest of town and moved northeast, directly into southern sections the city (the "Negro section," as newspapers called it at the time).  The path of utter destruction, in which everything was flattened, was a quarter mile wide.  The damaged residences of O. C. Landrum and Oscar Sims marked the edges of the devastation. Between them was a treeless and fenceless waste, with scattered remnants of homes and uprooted trees.  A heavy rain, which fell continuously from 1 o'clock until 6 the following morning, made roads almost impassable and handicapped the work of rehabilitation.  Only three homes that were affected by the funnel were able to be salvaged.  World War I veterans described the devastation and suffering as worse than what they witnessed during the Great War.  The twisting nature of the winds was clearly revealed when the bodies of the Tyree family were found 75 yards south of their home site, and the bodies of the Redeford family were discovered 100 yards north of the spot where their home had stood. The Tyrees lived on the southern edge of the storm area, while the Redefords lived near the northern edge.  The body of the Rev. Redeford's wife was carried 150 yards to a pond on the land belonging to L. P. Hagan. The corpse of the husband was found entangled in a barbed wire fence, having been blown about one hundred yards.  Sixteen people in Tompkinsville lost their lives that evening, with another 2 deaths just northeast of town in Sewell.  Fifty citizens were injured in Monroe County.  After Tompkinsville, the tornado continued to the northeast, crossing Cumberland County (2 people injured) and clipping the southeast corner of Adair County (2 people killed in the Cundiff area) with comparatively little damage, before intensifying again as it entered Russell County.  The tornado grew into a mile-wide monster as it plowed down at least 100 homes.  The edge of the tornado missed downtown Russell Springs by only half a mile.  The tornado spent its last fury in the Happy Acre area, causing damage along Goose Creek, near Friendship Church, and on the southern end of Bethany Ridge where chickens were stripped of their feathers.  The tornado lifted at the Casey County line.  Fatality counts for Russell County vary from 14 to 20 depending on the source...this study will use Grazulis' number of 18.  Of those 18, 14 were killed on the southeast edge of Russell Springs.  Up to 100 people may have been injured in Russell County.

May 9, 1933
Counties:  Metcalfe, Adair
F-scale:   F2
Deaths:  2
Injuries:  12
Path width:  400 yards
Path length:  15 miles
Time:   8:30pm
Narrative:  Moved northeast, destroying five homes and damaging a dozen others at Columbia.

Morning Weather Map

Weather Map May 9, 1933


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