1908 Dixie tornado outbreak

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1908 Dixie tornado outbreak
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationApril 23–25, 1908
≥ 31 confirmed
Max. rating1F5 tornado
Duration of
tornado outbreak2
≥ 3 days
Largest hail34 in (1.9 cm)
Fatalities≥ 324 fatalities, ≥ 1,720 injuries
Damage[nb 1]
Areas affectedMidwestern and Southern United States
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado

On April 23–25, 1908, a destructive tornado outbreak affected portions of the Midwestern and Southern United States, including the Great Plains. The outbreak produced at least 31  tornadoes in 13 states, with a total of at least 324 tornado-related deaths. Of these deaths, most were caused by three long-tracked, violent tornadoes—each rated F4 on the Fujita scale and considered to be a tornado family—that occurred on April 24. Most of the deaths were in rural areas, often consisted of African Americans, and consequently may have been undercounted. One of the tornadoes killed 143 people along its path, 73 of them in the U.S. state of Mississippi, making the tornado the third deadliest in Mississippi history, following the 1936 Tupelo F5, with 216 deaths, and the 1840 Natchez tornado, with 317 deaths.[1][2][3][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
? ? ? 22 3 5 1 ≥ 31

April 23 event[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes – Friday, April 23, 1908[nb 5][nb 6]
F# Location County / Parish State Time (UTC) Path length Max. width Summary
F2 W of Valley Springs, SD to E of Benclare, SD to MN Minnehaha (SD), Rock (MN) SD, MN 18:30–? 5 miles (8.0 km) Un­known Possible tornado family struck three farmsteads, destroying stables, tearing roofs off homes, and killing a racehorse.[14]
F2 Oak Grove, TX to OK Red River (TX), Bowie (TX), McCurtain (OK) TX, OK 22:15–? 15 miles (24 km) 250 yards (230 m) Tornado destroyed 10 homes, a school, and a store. Only scattered concrete blocks remained at the school. Tornado crossed into Oklahoma before dissipating. Seven people were injured.[14]
F2 W of Foreman to S of DeQueen Little River, Sevier AR 22:30–? 11 miles (18 km) Un­known 3 deaths — Tornado destroyed a home, killing a family of three. Leaves and twigs rained from the sky in DeQueen.[15]
F2 W of Inwood Lyon IA 22:30–? 10 miles (16 km) 100 yards (91 m) Tornado killed more than 100 head of livestock, including 81 hogs and several sheep. Tornado damaged or destroyed several barns and a school as well. One person was injured.[15]
F2 Clifton to Cayote Bosque TX 23:30–? 10 miles (16 km) Un­known Tornado damaged or destroyed two homes and several other structures. Tornado tossed water 500 ft (150 m) high as it crossed the Bosque River. Trees along the river were thrown 12 mi (0.80 km) away. 10 people were injured.[15]
F5 SW of Pender to S of Thurston Cuming, Thurston NE 00:00–? 15 miles (24 km) 400 yards (370 m) 3 deaths — Tornado devastated several farms, one of which it obliterated, including a well-constructed multi-story farmhouse. Shingles and a picture from one of the farms rained from the sky in the town of Goodwin, 35 mi (56 km) away. 10 people were injured.[15]
F4 Deport to W of Fulbright Red River, Lamar TX 00:00–? 10 miles (16 km) 300 yards (270 m) 1 death — Tornado destroyed the business district, 25 homes, a pair of churches, and a cottonseed oil mill in Deport. Debris from homes was found 2 mi (3.2 km) away. Six people were injured and losses totaled $125,000.[15][16]
F3 S of Rice Navarro TX 00:30–? 7 miles (11 km) 150 yards (140 m) 3+ deaths — 12-mile-wide (0.80 km) tornado struck a farm, destroying the manager's house, 14 tenant houses, and all barns on the property. Several other farmhouses were damaged or destroyed along the path. Six people were injured. Tornado may have continued into Wood County and caused four additional fatalities.[15]
F2 SE of Daingerfield Morris TX 03:00–? 10 miles (16 km) 100 yards (91 m) Tornado destroyed or damaged 17 homes, including four farmhouses. Five people were injured.[15]
F2 Hector Pope AR Un­known Un­known Un­known 3 deaths — Tornado damaged or destroyed the entire town, injuring 20 people.[15]

April 24 event[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes – Saturday, April 24, 1908[nb 5][nb 6]
F# Location County / Parish State Time (UTC) Path length Max. width Summary
F2 Southern Walls DeSoto MS 08:30–? 7 miles (11 km) Un­known Tornado destroyed a store, a depot, and three homes. A station agent was injured and losses totaled $1,500.[15][17]
F2 Mason Fayette, Tipton TN 09:00–? 3 miles (4.8 km) Un­known Tornado destroyed three churches and a few homes.[18]
F2 Buntyn Shelby TN 09:00–? 5 miles (8.0 km) 400 yards (370 m) Tornado destroyed or unroofed 12 homes. 15 people were injured.[18]
F4 N of Lamourie, LA to Tillman, MS Rapides (LA), Avoyelles (LA), Catahoula (LA), Concordia (LA), Adams (MS), Jefferson (MS), Claiborne (MS) LA, MS 11:00–? 105 miles (169 km) 700 yards (640 m) 91 deaths — See section on this tornado
F2 Northern Braxton Simpson MS 15:15–? Un­known Un­known Tornado destroyed several homes. 10 people were injured and losses totaled $10,000.[15][17]
F2 N of Wahalak to S of Shuqualak Kemper, Noxubee MS 17:45–? 10 miles (16 km) Un­known 3 deaths — Tornado swept away three small homes. 10 people were injured and losses totaled at least $5,000.[15][17]
F4 Weiss, LA to Amite, LA/Purvis, MS to SW of Richton, MS Livingston (LA), St. Helena (LA), Tangipahoa (LA), Washington (LA), Marion (MS), Lamar (MS), Forrest (MS), Perry (MS), Wayne (MS) LA, MS 17:45–? 155 miles (249 km) 1,000 yards (910 m) 143 deaths — See section on this tornado
F4 SW of Dora to Southern Albertville to Northern Sylvania Walker, Jefferson, Blount, Marshall, DeKalb AL 20:40–22:15 > 105 miles (169 km) 500 yards (460 m) 35 deaths — See section on this tornado
F2 N of Brooklyn to S of Janet Forrest, Perry, Greene MS 20:45–? 25 miles (40 km) Un­known 5+ deaths — Tornado may have caused as many as seven fatalities. 20 people were injured and losses totaled $290,500.[15][17]
F2 Thomasboro to Rantoul Champaign IL 23:30–? 6 miles (9.7 km) 30 yards (27 m) Tornado unroofed several homes.[18]
F4 Bluffton, AL to Cave Spring, GA Cherokee (AL), Polk (GA), Floyd (GA) AL, GA 01:10–? 16 miles (26 km) 400 yards (370 m) 11 deaths — Tornado leveled many small homes and damaged other structures. Bodies were found 14 mi (0.40 km) away. 50 people were injured.[18]
F2 Fort Deposit Lowndes AL 03:00–? 5 miles (8.0 km) 250 yards (230 m) 2 deaths — Tornado destroyed 50 structures. 22 people were injured and losses totaled $80,000.[18][19]
F3 E of Cleveland to Climer Bradley TN 03:00–? 10 miles (16 km) 400 yards (370 m) 1 death — Tornado struck 20 farms and damaged or destroyed numerous structures, including five homes. Eight people were injured.[18]
F2 NE of Montgomery Montgomery, Elmore AL 03:10–? 4 miles (6.4 km) Un­known Tornado destroyed a small building and a barn. Losses totaled $3,000.[18][20]

April 25 event[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes – Sunday, April 25, 1908[nb 5][nb 6]
F# Location County / Parish State Time (UTC) Path length Max. width Summary
F2 Southern Atlanta Fulton GA 05:00–? Un­known 50 yards (46 m) One home shifted on its foundation and another was torn in half.[18]
F3 Pine Mountain to S of Greenville Harris, Meriwether GA 06:00–? 15 miles (24 km) 150 yards (140 m) 10 deaths — Tornado destroyed 40 homes, four churches, and a hotel. 40 people were injured and losses totaled $200,000.[18]
F2 N of Columbus Muscogee GA 06:30–? 2 miles (3.2 km) 200 yards (180 m) 2 deaths — Tornado destroyed several homes. 12 people were injured and losses totaled $30,000.[18]
F2 W of Griffin to S of McDonough Spalding, Henry GA 07:30–? 15 miles (24 km) 200 yards (180 m) 8 deaths — Tornado struck several frail homes at a mill. 100 people were injured and losses totaled $140,000.[18]
F2 Poulan Worth GA 11:00–? Un­known 100 yards (91 m) Tornado destroyed or damaged several homes and barns. Four people were injured.[18]
F2 Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Walker GA 18:30–? 3 miles (4.8 km) 100 yards (91 m) Tornado severely damaged the historic monument, then called Chickamauga National Historic Park, downing at least 100 large trees, some of which it hurled 300 yd (900 ft; 0.17 mi; 0.27 km) through the air. Tornado also destroyed three historic homes.[18]
F2 Diamond Gilmer GA 20:00–? 3 miles (4.8 km) 200 yards (180 m) Tornado unroofed and destroyed several homes. Five people were injured.[18]

Concordia Parish, Louisiana/Pine Ridge–Church Hill, Mississippi[edit]

Concordia Parish, Louisiana/Pine Ridge–Church Hill, Mississippi
F4 tornado
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Fatalities≥ 91 fatalities, ≥ 400 injuries
Damage$182,000 (1908 USD)
$5.49 million (2022 USD)
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The first of two major, long-tracked, violent tornadoes first began at about 5:00 a.m. CST just north of Lamourie. Upon touching down, the tornado immediately killed three people at Richland and then four more at Ruby soon after touching down. As it crossed into Avoyelles Parish, it caused 25 injuries between the communities of Effie and Center Point. Farther along the path, two more people were killed near New Era. Upon crossing into Concordia Parish, the tornado rapidly widened to 700 yd (640 m) or more and intensified, destroying numerous large plantations. At least 30 people died in Concordia Parish as many tenant homes were completely leveled. The massive tornado then crossed into Mississippi just north of Vidalia, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, devastating many more plantations, killing at least 30 more people, and injuring about 200, especially near Pine Ridge. Large antebellum mansions were destroyed, and witnesses reported that areas along the Mississippi River resembled a "deserted battlefield". The tornado then struck the Church Hill area, killing 21 people in frail tenant homes before dissipating near Tillman. At least 400 people were injured along the path, though the actual total, as in other tornadoes this day, was likely higher as most newspapers in the South failed to list Black dead and injured, many of whom were poor sharecroppers.[15][21][22][23][24][17]

Amite–Pine, Louisiana/Purvis–Richton, Mississippi[edit]

Amite–Pine, Louisiana/Purvis–Richton, Mississippi
F4 tornado
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Fatalities≥ 143 fatalities, ≥ 770 injuries
Damage$1.157 million (1908 USD)
$34.9 million (2022 USD)
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The second of the two long-tracked F4s was one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history. An exceptionally large and intense tornado, it first began at about 11:45 a.m. CST in Weiss, just north of Livingston. Two people were killed at Denham Springs near the beginning of the path. Two others were killed near Montpelier as well. The tornado then struck Amite directly, carving a path of destruction 2 mi (3.2 km) wide through the town. Many structures were completely destroyed in Amite, and 29 people were killed. Four others were killed near Wilmer, along with nine additional fatalities occurring near Pine. The tornado crossed into Mississippi, killing two before tearing through Purvis and devastating most of the town. Only seven of the town's 150 buildings were left standing, and 55 people were killed. Five other fatalities were documented in rural areas outside Purvis as well. Four railroad crew workers were killed farther along the path near McCallum, located 8 mi (13 km) to the south of Hattiesburg, as they tried seek shelter in a boxcar. The boxcars were thrown 150 ft (46 m) and torn apart by the tornado. Several other fatalities occurred near Richton before the tornado dissipated. At least 770 people were injured along the entire path, though the real total was likely higher, perhaps significantly so, as many minor injuries were probably ignored—an omission still common in contemporary tornado disasters. With at least 143 deaths, the Amite–Purvis tornado is officially the eighth deadliest in U.S. history, though its long path may have actually consisted of two or more tornadoes.[2][15][21][25][24][17]

Bergens–Southern Albertville–Northern Sylvania, Alabama[edit]

Bergens–Southern Albertville–Northern Sylvania, Alabama
F4 tornado
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Fatalities35 fatalities, 188 injuries
Damage> $500,000 (1908 USD)
> $15.1 million (2022 USD)
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

A destructive tornado first began at about 2:40 p.m. CST in southeast Walker County, Alabama, though its actual genesis may have occurred earlier. It first touched down somewhere southwest of Dora and moved northeast, whence it was seen to merge with a "black cloud," possibly another tornado which was then moving east and dissipating. Quickly intensifying and widening to about 1,000 yd (910 m), the tornado grew to F4 intensity and struck the nearby village of Bergens. According to reports, the damage swath on the west side of the tornado briefly shrank as it neared Bergens, causing nearby residents of Dora to believe that a row of hills had deflected the winds from their town. In Bergens, the tornado completely destroyed most of the homes and "leveled" the village church and the store. Of the 42 homes in Bergens, only one remained undamaged, and most of them were destroyed. A nearby depot in Bergens was also destroyed and three of 10 boxcars sitting empty on the railroad were overturned; heavy boxcar parts were reportedly carried 100 ft (30 m) away. Six people in Bergens died instantly and two more later expired of their injuries; of the 16 remaining injured, at least four more died to make the final death toll 12 at Bergens.

Farther along the path, the tornado destroyed numerous homes in the village of Old Democrat, located 4 mi (6.4 km) northeast of Dora, killing two more people there. Next, the "coal-black" funnel struck Warrior and the town of Wynnville, killing two people each at both locations. Turning to the north-northeast, the tornado then crossed into Marshall County and struck Albertville, destroying half the town. An oil tank weighing 9 t (20,000 lb) was carried 12 mi (2,600 ft; 880 yd; 800 m) at this location, and a train was overturned and destroyed. At least 15 people died in Albertville and 150 were injured. The tornado continued through heavily forested areas along the remainder of its path, possibly dissipating and reforming into a new tornado. It passed through Ten Broeck and the northern edge of Sylvania before ending, having traveled at least 105 mi (169 km) and possibly as long as 125 mi (201 km) within one hour and 35 minutes. Although the tornado killed 35 people, it only injured 188, likely due to the low population of the area impacted.[15][26][27][28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ All losses are in 1908 USD unless otherwise noted.
  2. ^ An outbreak is generally defined as a group of at least six tornadoes (the number sometimes varies slightly according to local climatology) with no more than a six-hour gap between individual tornadoes. An outbreak sequence, prior to (after) the start of modern records in 1950, is defined as a period of no more than two (one) consecutive days without at least one significant (F2 or stronger) tornado.[4]
  3. ^ The Fujita scale was devised under the aegis of scientist T. Theodore Fujita in the early 1970s. Prior to the advent of the scale in 1971, tornadoes in the United States were officially unrated.[5][6] While the Fujita scale has been superseded by the Enhanced Fujita scale in the U.S. since February 1, 2007,[7] Canada utilized the old scale until April 1, 2013;[8] nations elsewhere, like the United Kingdom, apply other classifications such as the TORRO scale.[9]
  4. ^ Historically, the number of tornadoes globally and in the United States was and is likely underrepresented: research by Grazulis on annual tornado activity suggests that, as of 2001, only 53% of yearly U.S. tornadoes were officially recorded. Documentation of tornadoes outside the United States was historically less exhaustive, owing to the lack of monitors in many nations and, in some cases, to internal political controls on public information.[10] Most countries only recorded tornadoes that produced severe damage or loss of life.[11] Significant low biases in U.S. tornado counts likely occurred through the early 1990s, when advanced NEXRAD was first installed and the National Weather Service began comprehensively verifying tornado occurrences.[12]
  5. ^ a b c All dates are based on the local time zone where the tornado touched down; however, all times are in Coordinated Universal Time and dates are split at midnight CST/CDT for consistency.
  6. ^ a b c Prior to 1994, only the average widths of tornado paths were officially listed.[13]


  1. ^ Roger Edwards, ed. (19 March 2021). "The 25 Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes". The Online Tornado FAQ. Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Grazulis, Thomas P.; Grazulis, Doris. "The Most "Important" US Tornadoes by State". The Tornado Project Online. The Tornado Project. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  3. ^ Grazulis 1993, p. 56
  4. ^ Schneider, Russell S.; Brooks, Harold E.; Schaefer, Joseph T. (2004). Tornado Outbreak Day Sequences: Historic Events and Climatology (1875-2003) (PDF). 22nd Conf. Severe Local Storms. Hyannis, Massachusetts: American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  5. ^ Grazulis 1993, p. 141.
  6. ^ Grazulis 2001a, p. 131.
  7. ^ Edwards, Roger (5 March 2015). "Enhanced F Scale for Tornado Damage". The Online Tornado FAQ (by Roger Edwards, SPC). Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale)". Environment and Climate Change Canada. Environment and Climate Change Canada. 6 June 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  9. ^ "The International Tornado Intensity Scale". Tornado and Storm Research Organisation. Tornado and Storm Research Organisation. 2016. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  10. ^ Grazulis 2001a, pp. 251–4.
  11. ^ Edwards, Roger (5 March 2015). "The Online Tornado FAQ (by Roger Edwards, SPC)". Storm Prediction Center: Frequently Asked Questions about Tornadoes. Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  12. ^ Cook, A. R.; Schaefer, J. T. (August 2008). Written at Norman, Oklahoma. "The Relation of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to Winter Tornado Outbreaks". Monthly Weather Review. Boston: American Meteorological Society. 136 (8): 3135. Bibcode:2008MWRv..136.3121C. doi:10.1175/2007MWR2171.1. Retrieved 4 April 2021. open access
  13. ^ Brooks, Harold E. (April 2004). "On the Relationship of Tornado Path Length and Width to Intensity". Weather and Forecasting. Boston: American Meteorological Society. 19 (2): 310. Bibcode:2004WtFor..19..310B. doi:10.1175/1520-0434(2004)019<0310:OTROTP>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  14. ^ a b Grazulis 1993, p. 712
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Grazulis 1993, p. 713
  16. ^ Written at Deport, Texas. "One Man Killed at Deport". The Dallas Morning News. Dallas. April 24, 1908. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Selden 1908, p. 133.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Grazulis 1993, p. 714
  19. ^ Chaffee 1908, pp. 133–4.
  20. ^ Chaffee 1908, p. 134.
  21. ^ a b Grazulis 2001a, p. 293
  22. ^ Grazulis 1993, p. 184
  23. ^ Heidorn, Keith C. (April 1, 2008). "Deadly Tornadoes of April 1908". The Weather Doctor. Valemount, British Columbia: Islandnet.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Cline 1908, p. 132.
  25. ^ Grazulis 2001a, p. 200
  26. ^ Grazulis 2001a, p. 295
  27. ^ "Walker to DeKalb County F4 Tornado April 24 1908". NWS Birmingham, Alabama Weather Forecast Office. Calera, Alabama: National Weather Service. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  28. ^ Chaffee 1908, p. 133.
  29. ^ Lehman 1908, p. 134.