May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
F5 tornado
Max rating1 F5 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The May 1896 tornado outbreak sequence was a series of violent and deadly tornado outbreaks that struck much of the Central and Southern United States from May 15 to May 28, 1896. It is considered one of the worst tornado outbreak sequences on record with tornado expert Tom Grazulis stating that the week of May 24–28 was "perhaps the most violent single week of tornado activity in US history".[1] There were four particularly notable tornado outbreaks during the two-week period. It produced three F5 tornadoes as well as the third deadliest tornado ever in United States history. A total of 484 people were killed during the entire outbreak sequence by at least 38 different tornadoes which struck Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, and Michigan.[nb 1][nb 2]

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
 ?  ?  ? 17 12 6 3 38+

May 15 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 15, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Texas
F3 SW of Justin to E of Ponder Denton 2015 13 miles (21 km) 2 deaths — 22 homes were damaged in Justin, with five destroyed, and two swept away. Every business in town received some degree of damage. 25 injuries occurred, 17 of which were serious.[3]
F2 W of Denton Denton, Cooke 2045 17 miles (27 km) 3 deaths — Struck the town of Gribble Springs, where seven houses were destroyed and three people were killed. Two homes and numerous barns were also destroyed in Cooke County.[3]
F5 E of Pilot Point to Sherman Denton, Grayson 2230 28 miles (45 km) 73 deathsSee section on this tornado — One of the most intense tornadoes of the 19th century.[3]
F2 SE of Sherman to SE of Hendrix, OK Grayson, Bryan(OK) 2245 18 miles (29 km) Tornado formed after the Sherman tornado lifted. 20 homes were damaged along the Choctaw Creek (then called Choctaw Bayou). A trading post was destroyed as well. 35 injuries occurred, at least 20 of which were serious.[3]
Oklahoma
F2 Blue area Bryan 2330 unknown 4 deaths — A family of four was killed in their home.[3]
Kansas
F2 NE of Moundridge McPherson 1000 unknown 1 death — Brief, early-morning touchdown leveled a house. An elderly man was killed and his wife was injured.[3]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[3]

May 17 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 17, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Kentucky
F2 N of Symsonia Graves, Marshall 0645 8 miles (13 km) 5 deaths — South of Elva, a small two-room home was obliterated, killing a family of five.[3]
Kansas
F3 NW of Clay Center to S of Frankfort Clay, Marshall, Riley 2230 45 miles (72 km) Probably a long-lived tornado family. Seven entire farms were destroyed. 60 injuries were reported, 58 of which occurred when a church in Riley County was destroyed during services.[3]
F5 SW of Palmer to S of Falls City, NE Washington, Marshall, Nemaha, Brown, Richardson(NE) 2300 100 miles (160 km) 25 deathsSee section on this tornado — Was more than 2 miles (3.2 km) wide.[3]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[3]

May 18 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 18, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Iowa
F2 SW of Lamoni Decatur 0200 unknown A cottage on the southwest side of Lamoni was leveled and scattered. Four people were injured.[4]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[4]

May 19 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 19, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Kansas
F3 SW of Rock Cowley, Butler 2200 10 miles (16 km) Buildings were destroyed on 15 farms, including 7 homes. Fifty head of livestock were killed on one farm, and two people were injured.[4]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[4]

May 20 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 20, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Oklahoma
F3 E of Newkirk to E of Maitland, KS Kay, Cowley(KS) 1700 15 miles (24 km) An entire farm was swept away near the beginning of the path.[4]
F2 N of Kildare Kay 1730 unknown A barn was destroyed. One of six small tornadoes reported in the area.[4]
Kansas
F2 N of Hoyt Jackson 2230 6 miles (9.7 km) One person was injured as a house was destroyed.[4]
F2 S of Emporia Lyon 0200 3 miles (4.8 km) A house was shifted from its foundation and unroofed. A barn was destroyed, and two men hiding inside were injured.[4]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[4]

May 24 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 24, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Iowa
F2 S of Manchester Delaware 0300 3 miles (4.8 km) One house and several barns were destroyed. A fatality may have occurred.[5]
F4 SW of Polk City to Mingo Polk, Jasper 0430 28 miles (45 km) 21 deaths — Began near Polk City, and moved east-southeast north of Des Moines. Several homes were leveled on the north sides of Bondurant and Valeria, resulting in multiple fatalities. Other homes were destroyed and fatalities occurred in the communities of Santiago and Mingo. A steel railroad rail was driven 15 feet (4.6 m) into the ground at one location. At least 60 people were injured.[5]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[5]

May 25 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 25, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Illinois
F4 NW of Forreston to S of Egan Ogle 0700 10 miles (16 km) 4 deaths — Multiple homes had their roofs torn off on the northern edge of Adeline. In rural areas, a church and five farm homes were leveled. Four fatalities occurred south of Egan, where a large home was cleanly swept away.[5]
F2 S of Byron Ogle 0730 unknown All barns and trees were destroyed on a farm.[5]
F3 S of Davis Junction to E of Irene Ogle, Boone, DeKalb 0730 15 miles (24 km) 3 deaths — Buildings were destroyed on 11 farms. Six people were injured and three others were killed in a collapsed home. Debris from that home was found five miles away. A barn was destroyed in DeKalb County as well.[5]
F3 Edison Park Cook 0750 4.5 miles (7.2 km) Tornado struck the communities of Park Ridge, Edison Park, and Norwood Park. Six homes were destroyed and 30 others were damaged beyond repair. Caused $100,000 in damage and hit within 15 miles (24 km) of downtown Chicago.[5]
Michigan
F2 N of Clio to E of Otter Lake Genesee, Lapeer 2300 14 miles (23 km) Businesses and cottages were destroyed at Otter Lake. Three farm homes were destroyed, and the roof of a school was carried for half a mile. Four people were injured.[5]
F3 W of Munger to Fairgrove area Bay, Tuscola 2300 10 miles (16 km) 1 death — A school and five homes were destroyed along the path. 30 people were attending a funeral at one of the homes, and the attendants survived by taking shelter in a nearby ditch as the house was lifted and destroyed. One man was killed by flying debris as he watched from his window.[5]
F3 W of Sterling Heights to Harrison Township Macomb, St. Clair 0110 35 miles (56 km) 2 deaths — Homes and barns were leveled between Warren and Utica before the tornado tore through Mt. Clemens, where 30 homes were destroyed along a two-block-wide path. Homes were destroyed in other areas before the tornado crossed into Ontario, where $60,000 in damage occurred.[5]
F5 N of Holly to W of Dryden Oakland, Lapeer 0200 30 miles (48 km) 47 deathsSee section on this tornado — Extremely intense tornado,[6] second deadliest in Michigan.[5]
F2 Amadore Sanilac 0200 3 miles (4.8 km) Every building in the village of Amadore was damaged to some degree, and two homes were destroyed at that location. The tornado moved out over Lake Huron as a waterspout. Three people were injured.[5]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[5]

May 27 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 27, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Missouri
F2 E of Bellflower Montgomery, Lincoln unknown 7 miles (11 km) 1 death — A church and a barn were destroyed. A woman was killed and her infant son was injured.[5]
F2 N of Sturgeon to N of Centralia Audrain 1935 8 miles (13 km) Barns leveled destroyed and four farm homes were "nearly destroyed".[5]
F3 S of Higbee to S of Renick Randolph 2030 6 miles (9.7 km) Three homes were destroyed and five others were damaged. Many barns were destroyed as well. Six people were injured.[5]
F3 N of Mexico to W of Vandalia Audrain 2115 17 miles (27 km) 6-7 deaths — Three students were killed at the Dye school, and one student (possibly two) was killed at the Bean Creek School. Two others died in farmhouses. A total of 50 people were injured.[5]
F4 SE of Chamois Osage 0015 5 miles (8.0 km) 2 deaths — Two farms were destroyed, at one of which every building was completely swept away. Three people were injured.[5]
F4 St. Louis/East St. Louis, IL St.Louis, Madison (IL) 0030 12 miles (19 km) 255 deathsSee article on this tornado — Third-deadliest tornado in US history,[5] caused near-F5 damage in East St. Louis.[6]
Illinois
F4 E of New Minden to Irvington Washington, Jefferson 0020 23 miles (37 km) 14 deaths — Entire farms were leveled near New Minden, south of Hoyleton, near Richview, and in Boyd and Irvington. 50 others were injured.[5]
F4 E of Imbs to NE of Germantown St. Clair, Clinton 0045 30 miles (48 km) 24 deaths — The path of this tornado family may have begun in Dupo. Many homes were leveled along the path, especially in and around New Baden, where 13 people died. Near the beginning of the path, 10 people died near train stations, and another death occurred at a farmhouse near Germantown before the tornado dissipated. 125 people were injured.[7]
F3 NW of Nashville to NE of Mt. Vernon Washington, Jefferson 0230 28 miles (45 km) 3 deaths — Many farms were devastated along the path. Damage northeast of Mt. Vernon may have been downburst-related.[7]
Oklahoma
F3 E of Hennessey to NE of Marshall Kingfisher, Logan, Garfield 0000 10 miles (16 km) A house was blown apart and scattered. One person was injured.[5]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[5][7]

May 28 event[edit]

List of confirmed tornadoes - May 28, 1896
F#
Location
County
Time (UTC)
Path length
Damage
Pennsylvania
F2 E of Gettysburg to NE of Hanover Adams, York 1800 13 miles (21 km) Barns were destroyed near Bonneauville and Abbottstown. A house was leveled as well, with the furniture carried over half a mile away. Four people were injured.[7]
F2 Columbia/Wrightsville areas York, Lancaster 1830 9 miles (14 km) 1 death — A school and four homes had their roofs torn off in Wrightsville. One person was killed when the tornado struck a rolling mill in Columbia, where three homes were destroyed. 20 people were injured.[7]
F3 S of Ambler to S of Trenton, NJ Montgomery, Bucks, Mercer(NJ), Monmouth(NJ) 1955 35 miles (56 km) 4 deaths — 16 barns and several stables were destroyed in Pennsylvania, where four people were killed. The tornado crossed into New Jersey and damaged businesses in Allentown and White Horse. 15 people were injured.[7]
Maryland
F2 SW of Harney to Littlestown, PA, area Carroll, Adams(PA) 2000 5 miles (8.0 km) In Maryland, a house was torn apart and three others had their roofs torn off. Furniture was carried up to half a mile away. Crossed into Pennsylvania and dissapated near Littlestown, where barns were destroyed.[8]
Sources: Grazulis (1993)[7][8]

Notable tornadoes[edit]

Sherman, Texas[edit]

F5 tornado
Max rating1 F5 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

On the first day of the outbreak sequence, most of the fatalities came from a single supercell thunderstorm that traveled from Denton to Sherman. The tornado began in the Pilot Point area, where farm homes were shifted off of their foundations. The tornado widened and strengthened into a very violent F5 and swept away numerous farms west of Farmington and Howe. Later along the path, the tornado narrowed to around 60 yards (180 ft) wide as it tore through Sherman. Fifty homes were destroyed in town, 20 of which were completely obliterated and swept away. An iron-beam bridge was torn from its supports and twisted into multiple pieces, and one of the beams was driven several feet into the ground.[6][9] Bodies were found up to 400 yards (1,200 ft) from their home sites, and a trunk lid was carried for 35 miles (56 km). Headstones at a cemetery were shattered, and a 500-pound stone was carried for 250 yards. Trees in the area were completely debarked with some reduced to stumps, and grass was scoured from lawns in town.[9] At least 200 people were injured, and bodies of the victims were transported into the courthouse and a vacant building. Several bodies were recovered from a muddy creek.[10] Seventy-three people were killed by this single tornado, one of the worst on record in North Texas and the Red River Valley region.

Additional killer tornadoes were recorded north of Wichita, Kansas in McPherson County and further south in Bryan County, Oklahoma.[11]

Seneca/Oneida, Kansas/Falls City, Nebraska[edit]

F5 tornado
Max rating1 F5 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

A powerful F5 tornado,[5] estimated to have been more than 2 miles (3.2 km) wide, tore through the towns of Seneca, Oneida, Reserve and Sabetha, Kansas. In Seneca, the tornado destroyed the courthouse and a new schoolhouse, and the opera house was completely leveled and swept away. Damage in Seneca alone was estimated at around $250,000 (in 1896 Dollars) where most of the homes, the fairgrounds and other small structures sustained at least heavy, if not complete, damage.[11][12][13] The damage path was two miles wide at Reserve, and only three buildings were left undamaged at that location. The tornado damaged 50 homes and destroyed 20 others on the north side of Sabetha. Many farms were entirely swept away along the path as well, some of which were reportedly left "as bare as the prairie".[6] The tornado continued into Nebraska, where four people died and damage occurred on the south side of Falls City. At least 200 people were injured.

Ortonville/Thomas/Oakwood, Michigan[edit]

F5 tornado
Max rating1 F5 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

Late during the evening hours of May 25, an F5 tornado[5] touched down in eastern Michigan and moved northeast for about 30 miles (48 km). The tornado affected portions of Oakland, Lapeer and Livingston Counties northwest of Detroit. Towns affected included Thomas, Ortonville, Oakwood, and Whigville just after 9:00 pm. Homes were leveled or swept away, and multiple fatalities occurred along the path. Entire farms were leveled, and debris from homes was found up to 12 miles (19 km) away. Trees were completely debarked along the path as well, with even small twigs stripped bare in some cases. Homes were swept away in Thomas, including one that was obliterated with the debris scattered up to 10 miles away. A piano from that residence was found 200 yards away from the foundation, with one end "pounded full of grass". Weather Bureau inspectors reported that grass in the center-most part of the circulation was "pounded down into the earth, as if it had been washed into the earth by a heavy flow of water."[14] At least 100 people were injured.[5] With 47 deaths, this is the second-deadliest tornado ever in Michigan trailing only the Flint Tornado of 1953 which killed 116 in Genessee County just outside Flint. Twenty-two people were killed in Ortonville, ten in Oakwood, three in Thomas, four north of Oxford and three in Whigville with others in rural areas. Nine of the fatalities were in a single home in Ortonville.[15][16]

Other killer tornadoes on that day touched down in Ogle County, Illinois (two different tornadoes) and Macomb & Tuscola Counties in Michigan. Several homes and farms in the Mount Clemens area were wiped out and others were moved from their foundations. The recently completed Colonial Hotel was leveled. Thirty homes were leveled in total, and two people were killed.[11][17]

St. Louis, Missouri/East St. Louis, Illinois[edit]

F4 tornado
Max rating1 F4 tornado
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

The third deadliest tornado in United States history struck St. Louis city and its metropolitan area on both sides of the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois on May 27. Preceded by a hurricane that nearly destroyed the city with electrical and water damage, that tornado alone at least killed 255, injuring thousands and destroying 50 million property value.[18] This tornado in addition killed 27 other people elsewhere in Illinois and seven elsewhere in Missouri including three at a school in Audrain County. Twenty-four of the 27 other fatalities were recorded by a single tornado with 13 of them near New Baden. In that town about half of the homes were completely destroyed with damage figures at around $50,000. The towns of Belleville and Mascoutah were also hit. Three people were killed by the other killer tornado that tracked between Nashville and Mount Vernon.[15][19][20] Fatalities were also reported the following day in Pennsylvania and New Jersey near Trenton between Philadelphia and New York City.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grazulis, Tom; Doris Grazulis. "1896 Tornadoes". The Tornado Project. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  2. ^ Schneider, Russell S.; Harold E. Brooks; Joseph T. Schaefer. "Tornado Outbreak Day Sequences: Historic Events and Climatology (1875-2003)" (PDF). Norman, Oklahoma: Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Grazulis, Significant, p. 674
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grazulis, Significant, p. 675
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Grazulis, Significant, p. 676
  6. ^ a b c d Grazulis, Thomas P. (2001). F5-F6 Tornadoes. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Grazulis, Significant, p. 677
  8. ^ a b Grazulis, Significant, p. 678
  9. ^ a b http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txgrayso/Black-Friday/black11.html
  10. ^ Sherman, TX Tornado, May 1896 | GenDisasters ... Genealogy in Tragedy, Disasters, Fires, Floods
  11. ^ a b c d Tornadoes in the Past
  12. ^ County Court House 1878
  13. ^ Tornado destroyed Seneca, Ks
  14. ^ http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/024/mwr-024-05-0156a.pdf
  15. ^ a b The United States' Worst Tornadoes Archived 2016-03-02 at WebCite
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  17. ^ Great Tornado of 1896
  18. ^ Hammer, Ludwig F. jr [from old catalog. The great St. Louis cyclone,. [St. Louis, Mo.,. 
  19. ^ National Weather Service, Lincoln IL - Severe Weather Climatology
  20. ^ New Baden, IL Tornado, May 1896

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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) modern records that began in 1950, is defined as, at most, two (one) consecutive days without at least one significant (F2 or stronger) tornado.[2]
  2. ^ All damage totals are in 1896 United States dollars unless otherwise noted.

External links[edit]