1924 Lorain–Sandusky tornado

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1924 Lorain-Sandusky Tornado outbreak
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationJune 28, 1924
Tornadoes confirmed≥6
Max rating1F4 tornado
Damage>$12.5 million USD[1]
(>$1.1 billion in 1997 USD)[2]
(>$1.72 billion (2019 USD[3])
Casualties≥85-90 fatalities, ≥350 injuries
Areas affectedNorthern Ohio, Northwestern Pennsylvania
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The 1924 Lorain–Sandusky tornado was a deadly F4 tornado which struck the towns of Sandusky and Lorain, Ohio on Saturday, June 28, 1924. At least 85 people were killed by the tornado, with others killed by tornadoes that struck the northern and eastern half of the state. It is the deadliest single tornado and tornado outbreak ever recorded in Ohio history, killing more people than the more famous 1974 Xenia Tornado during the 1974 Super Outbreak and the 1985 United States-Canadian tornado outbreak respectively.

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
? ? ? 2 3 1 0 ≥6

Event summary[edit]

F4 tornado
Max rating1F4 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

On that day, a low pressure system moved from Iowa towards Michigan and Ontario. Temperatures were in the lower 80s across most of northern Ohio, which is typical for late-June across that area.

The tornado formed over the Sandusky Bay during the late afternoon hours and hit the city of Sandusky where it killed eight and destroyed 100 homes and 25 businesses.[4] After moving east over Lake Erie for several miles, the tornado then struck the town of Lorain just west of Cleveland, killing 72. Among the dead were 15 people inside a collapsed theater, which makes it the worst tornado-related death toll from a single building in Ohio. Eight people were also killed inside the Bath House near the location where the tornado came onshore.</ref name=lorain1>

Over 500 homes were destroyed and 1000 others were damaged in the Lorain area as well as every business in the downtown area. Damage amounts were estimated at the time to be approximately $12 million. When adjusted for wealth the figure jumps to $1 billion (1997 dollars), which ranks it 10th costliest tornado, ahead of the Oklahoma City area tornado in 1999. A total of 85 were killed with additional deaths outside the two cities and 300 others were injured. While the Fujita scale was not existent at the time, the damage was estimated to be at around F4.[5][6][7]

There are still some uncertainties on whether the Sandusky-Lorain tornado was a single tornado event due to the 25-mile path of the storm across Lake Erie between Sandusky and Lorain, however many eyewitnesses showed a single severe storm crossing the Lake before coming on-shore again just after 5:00 PM.[8][4]

At the time, it was the second deadliest tornado ever in the northern United States behind the New Richmond Tornado in northern Wisconsin in 1899 and 13th overall.</ref name=lorain1> Today, it is still ranked as the fourth deadliest tornado in the northern States and 24th overall.

Other tornadoes hit the Castalia (Sandusky County), Huron Township (Erie County) and Geauga Lake (Portage County); additional tornadoes struck northwestern Pennsylvania, producing damage near Erie and Meadville. At least five other people were killed by tornadoes other than the Sandusky-Lorain storm including three others in Ohio.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grazulis, Thomas P (July 1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991. St. Johnsbury, Vermont: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. ISBN 1-879362-03-1.
  2. ^ Brooks, Harold E.; C.A. Doswell (February 2001). "Normalized Damage from Major Tornadoes in the United States: 1890–1999". Weather Forecast. 16 (1): 168–76. Bibcode:2001WtFor..16..168B. doi:10.1175/1520-0434(2001)016<0168:NDFMTI>2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Schmidlin, Thomas W.; Schmidlin, Jeanne Appelhans (9 August 1996). "Thunder in the Heartland: A Chronicle of Outstanding Weather Events in Ohio". Kent State University Press. p. 254–258. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ US F4 , F5 TORNADOES Archived 2007-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Normalized Damage from Major Tornadoes in the United States: 1896-1999
  7. ^ a b 1924: Lorain Tornado Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ NOTES on the Lorain Tornado of 6-28-24, Avon, Ohio

External links[edit]

Preceded by
St. Louis, Mo. & E. St. Louis, Ill. (1896)
Costliest U.S. tornadoes on Record
June 28, 1924
Succeeded by
Tri-State (Mo., Ill., & Ind.) (1925)