1936 Cordele–Greensboro tornado outbreak

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1936 Cordele-Greensboro tornado outbreak
Type Tornado outbreak
Duration April 1–2, 1936
Tornadoes confirmed ≥ 12
Max rating1 F4 tornado
Duration of tornado outbreak2 ~14 hours
Damage Unknown
Casualties 49 confirmed fatalities, Unknown number of injuries
Areas affected Southeastern United States

1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

2Time from first tornado to last tornado

The 1936 Cordele–Greensboro tornado outbreak was a tornado outbreak that affected the Southeastern United States during April 1936. The Greensboro, North Carolina, and Cordele, Georgia, tornadoes were the deadliest spawned during the April 1–2 outbreak, which developed in three waves of tornadic activity over 14 hours, associated with the same storm system.

On the evening of April 2, 1936, the Greensboro tornado left a long path of F4 damage across the south side of Greensboro, passing through the south side of downtown. The storm began its path near High Point Road at Elam Street and continued east along Lee Street to east of Bennett College. This storm left $2 million in damage in Greensboro (1936 USD).[1] It was responsible for 14 deaths and 144 injuries, standing as the second deadliest tornado in the history of North Carolina after a February 1884 tornado that caused 23 deaths along a path from Rockingham to Lillington.

Later in the week, a second outbreak would spawn devastating tornadoes in Waynesboro, Tennessee, Tupelo, Mississippi, and Gainesville, Georgia.

Tornado table[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
 ?  ? 5 0 3 0 ≥ 8

April 1[edit]

April 1, 1936
Time (UTC)
Path length
F? Athens Clarke 0100 unknown Damage in one neighborhood, with a church destroyed.[1]
F4 Tignall to Lincolnton Wilkes, Lincoln 0130 20 miles (32 km) 5 deaths — A tornado killed five people as it destroyed 10 homes and damaged 30 in Tignall. The courthouse and 50 homes were damaged in Lincolnton[2] and nearby farms also reported damage. Cattle were killed and five barns and a store wrecked.[3] The section of the path in Lincolnton, which was widest and weakest,[2] may have been another tornado by a separate thunderstorm.[4]
F2 N of Gordo Pickens 0500 4 miles (6.4 km) 1 death — Five homes were destroyed and one woman killed in the small community of Hannah's Church, 7 miles (11 km) to the north of Gordo.[2]

April 2[edit]

April 2, 1936
Time (UTC)
Path length
F2 Sasser area Terrell 1130 5 miles (8.0 km) 1 deathTenant homes were destroyed southwest and northeast of Sasser. The tornado unroofed large homes and threw about debris as it hit downtown Sasser.[2] This tornado and the subsequent Leesburg and Cordele tornadoes were produced by the same supercell.[4]
F? Dawson area Terrell 1145 1 death — Tornado reported at Dawson.[1]
F2 N of Leesburg Lee, Sumter 1200 15 miles (24 km) 1 death — Six homes were destroyed as the tornado passed 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Neyami and into Sumter County.[2] Losses reached $4,300.[4]
F4 Cordele area Crisp 1230 15 miles (24 km) 23 deaths — A large and violent tornado developed 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Cordele and moved into the business district. It destroyed 276 homes and damaged 165, causing ~$3 million in damage in the town.[2] At least 11 other buildings were also damaged.[1] "Many of the finest houses were torn to splinters..."[4]
South Carolina
F2 Lodge Colleton 1330 1 mile (1.6 km) 1 death — Brief tornado touchdown destroyed a farm in Lodge, between Barnwell and Walterboro.[2][4]
F? Hampton Hampton unknown 1 death[1]
North Carolina
F? Concord Mecklenburg, Cabarrus 2230 Businesses and homes heavily damaged (with at least one building destroyed) near downtown Concord.[1]
F4 Greensboro area Guilford 0012 11 miles (18 km) 14 deaths — A tornado produced F4 damage through the southern part of downtown Greensboro. 56 buildings were completely destroyed,[4] with 233 more damaged.[1] ~$2 million in damage.[2]
F2 N of Mebane Alamance, Orange 0040 3 miles (4.8 km) 1 death — Passed 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Mebane. Three small homes were destroyed and five people were injured.[2] The tornado may have also caused "slight" damage 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north of Hillsborough. The parent supercell also produced the Warren County tornado.[3]
F? SE of Warrenton Warren 0215 An eyewitness in the Warren County community of Arcola noted that "a heavy cloud and a loud roar passed north of me at 9:15 P.M."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York. April 3, 1936.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Grazulis, Significant, p. 865
  3. ^ a b c d Souder, Mary, ed. (1936). "Severe Local Storms" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. Washington, D.C.: United States Weather Bureau. 64: 156–158. Bibcode:1936MWRv...64..156.. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1936)64<156:SLSA>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kincer, J. B. (May 1936). "Tornado Disasters in the Southeastern States, April 1936" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Weather Bureau. 64. Bibcode:1936MWRv...64..168K. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1936)64<168:TDITSS>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 


  • Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. Environmental Films. ISBN 1-879362-03-1. 
  • — (2003). The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3538-0.