1881 Hopkins tornado

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The Hopkins Tornado of 1881 was a tornado which occurred on June 12, 1881, near Hopkins, Missouri in Nodaway County, Missouri. Although there were originally eight tornadoes, four of the tornadoes united to form what is believed to have been one of the first recorded F5 tornadoes in history.[citation needed] The area affected by these tornadoes was lightly populated at the time, so there were only two fatalities. Several farmhouses and other properties were destroyed.[citation needed]

The four strands formed at around 3 PM[clarification needed] about six miles west of Hopkins, near the Lone Elm Schoolhouse. Before uniting, one of the strands demolished the schoolhouse. The tornado then moved in a southeast direction.[citation needed] The tornado hit the house of Zach Davidson and blew it, along with Zach, his wife and two sons and a hired man, 10 rods (around 50 meters) across a ravine. No one was injured in this incident. The tornado then blew apart Davidson's stable and carried two of his horses a quarter of mile, with both horses surviving the journey.[citation needed] The tornado then crossed the 102 River at the McMackin Mill, which was destroyed.[citation needed] The tornado hit the house of James Young and carried him and his wife 50 yards from the house, though neither survived. The tornado injured seven others.[citation needed]The storm track of the main tornado was 5-7 miles in length (3-4 miles west of the 102 River and 2-3 miles east of the river) and 100 yards to a quarter of a mile in width.[citation needed]

Five other tornadoes also occurred during this outbreak. One occurred in Rosendale, Missouri, another in Andrew County, Missouri, and three in Gentry County, Missouri and DeKalb County, Missouri.

The Fujita Scale did not exist at the time of this tornado. Thomas P. Grazulis, in Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991/a Chronology and Analysis of Events, lists the tornado as "probably" an F5.

See also[edit]


  • Nodaway County Missouri, National Historical Company, 1882, pp362–366
  • Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991/a Chronology and Analysis of Events by Thomas P. Grazulis Environmental Films (September 1993) ISBN 1-879362-03-1

Coordinates: 40°33′23″N 94°58′18″W / 40.5564°N 94.9716°W / 40.5564; -94.9716