NOAA/NWS 1925 Tri-State Tornado Web Site--General Information

Comparative Tornado Statistics

Tornado Safety Information

Family Disaster Plan


COMPARATIVE TORNADO STATISTICS

By now, you may be asking yourself, "Just how does the 1925 Tri-State Tornado compare with other tornadoes in recorded history?"  To answer this question, we have compiled some interesting comparative tornado statistics and organized them in the following tables.  Most of this information was derived from the book Significant Tornadoes by Thomas P. Grazulis.  If you are in any way interested in tornado history, this book would be well worth your time to check into!

10 DEADLIEST U.S. TORNADOES

Rank Deaths Date State(s) Town(s)

1

695

March 18, 1925

MO/IL/IN

Murphysboro, Gorham, DeSoto

2

317

May 7, 1840

LA/MS

Natchez

3

255

May 27, 1896

MO/IL

St. Louis, East St. Louis

4

216

April 5, 1936

MS

Tupelo

5

203

April 6, 1936

GA

Gainesville

6

181

April 9, 1947

TX/OK/KS

Glazier, Higgins, Woodward

7

143

April 24, 1908

LA/MS

Amite, Pine, Purvis

8

117

June 12, 1899

WI

New Richmond

9

115

June 8, 1953

MI

Flint

10

114

May 11, 1953

TX

Waco

10 LONGEST U.S. TORNADO TRACKS

Rank Path Length Date State(s)

1

219 miles

March 18, 1925

MO/IL/IN

2

170*

April 9, 1947

TX/OK/KS

3

160*

February 21, 1971

MS

4

155*

April 24, 1908

LA/MS

5

155*

May 26, 1917

IL

6

135*

May 27, 1973

AL

7

130*

April 20, 1920

MS/AL

8

125*

April 29, 1909

MS/TN

9

121*

April 3, 1974

IN

10

115*

March 30, 1938

IL

* Indicates that these tracks may have been due to a family of tornadoes instead of one single tornado.  Some researchers argue that the Tri-State Tornado may have also been a family of tornadoes.

 


 

TORNADO SAFETY INFORMATION

 

Each year, roughly 1000 tornadoes strike the United States.  Although no area is immune to tornadic activity, most tornadoes are found in the Central and Southern Plains states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  U.S. tornadoes usually occur in the spring and summer months, but they can occur at any time of the year.  For instance, a secondary tornado maximum is found across the southern states in the fall.

 

Tornadoes are most likely to strike between 3 and 9 p.m. but have been documented at all hours of the day and night.  Tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast, but they have been known to move in any direction.   The average forward speed is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.

 

Because of the highly erratic nature of these vicious storms, it is imperative that you and your family are prepared in case such a storm does occur.  The following guidelines developed through a cooperative effort between NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the American Red Cross will help you to develop a plan of action in the event a tornado approaches or a warning is issued for your area.

 

Before the storm...

  • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school, and when outdoors.

  • Have frequent drills.

  • Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.

  • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with SAME capability, a warning alarm tone, and battery back-up to receive warnings.

  • Listen to radio and television broadcasts for information.

  • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if hazardous weather is possible.

  • Realize the difference between a watch and a warning.  A Tornado WATCH means that tornadoes are possible in and close to the watch area.  Remain alert to changing weather conditions.  A Tornado WARNING means that a tornado has been sighted by trained spotters or strongly indicated by Doppler radar.

If a warning is issued or if hazardous weather approaches...

  • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.

  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.

  • Stay away from windows.

  • Get out of automobiles.

  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.

  • If caught outside or in a vehicle, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.

  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

Tornado safety in schools...

  • Develop a severe weather action plan and have frequent drills.

  • Each school should be inspected and tornado shelter areas designated by a registered engineer or architect.  Basements offer the best protection.  Schools without basements should use interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor and away from windows.

  • Those responsible for activating the plan should monitor weather information from NOAA Weather Radio and local radio/television broadcasts.

  • If the school's alarm system relies on electricity, have a compressed air horn or megaphone to activate the alarm in case of power failure.

  • Make special provisions for disabled students and those in portable classrooms.

  • Make sure someone knows how to turn off electricity and gas in the event the school is damaged.

  • Keep children at school beyond regular hours if hazardous weather is expected.  Children are safer at school than in a bus or car.  Students should not be sent home early if severe weather is approaching.

  • Lunches or assemblies in large rooms should be delayed if severe weather is anticipated.  Gymnasiums, cafeterias, auditoriums, and other buildings with large free-span roofs offer no protection from tornadic winds.

  • Move students quickly into interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor.  Have them stoop to the floor on their knees with their head low to the ground and sheltered by their hands.

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, factories, shopping centers, and other public institutions should develop a similar plan.


FAMILY DISASTER PLAN

From tornadoes to floods, hurricanes, winter storms, earthquakes, and fires, preparation for natural disasters sometimes means the difference between life and death.  NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the American Red Cross urge you to develop a family disaster plan.  Here are some general steps that you can take to make sure you and your family are prepared for whatever nature sends your way.

STEP 1: Gather information about hazards.  Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management agency, and American Red Cross chapter.  Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond.   Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.

STEP 2: Meet with your family to create a plan.  Discuss the information you have gathered.  Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.   Choose an out-of-state friend as your "family check-in contact" for everyone to call if the family gets separated.  Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.

STEP 3: Implement your plan.

  • Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio from your local electronics store.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.

  • Install safety features in your house, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

  • Inspect your home for potential hazards (such as items than can move, fall, break, or catch fire) and correct them.

  • Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.

  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number.

  • Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three (3) days.  Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need in case of an evacuation.  Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffel bags.  Keep important family documents in a waterproof container.  Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.

  • The disaster supplies kit should include: a 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day) and food that will not spoil; one change of clothing and footwear per person; one blanket or sleeping bag per person; a first-aid kit including prescription medicines; emergency tools including a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and a portable radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries; an extra set of car keys and cash; special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.

STEP 4: Practice and maintain your plan.  Ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules.   Conduct drills.  Test your Weather Radio monthly using the local test tone broadcast by the National Weather Service every Wednesday between the hours of 11 a.m. and noon local time.  Test your Weather Radio and smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.  Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.  Replace stored water and food every six months.

Remember that in coping with natural disasters, those who are well-prepared and have a plan of action are the most likely to survive!  Contact your local NOAA/NWS office, emergency management agency, or local chapter of the American Red Cross for more information.

 

 

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