Talk:List of tornadoes striking downtown areas of large cities

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Definition of "Downtown"[edit]

What counts as "downtown"? Does it have to be the central business district, or just the city limits? Ardric47 03:23, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Central business district. It should also be a decent-sized city (at least 50,000 or anchoring a metropolitan area of 100,000). CrazyC83 23:53, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm hesitating to add the F3 Aylmer, Qc tornado to that list, it may miss by the size around the 35,000-45,000 range when the tornado hit the downtown area in 1994. Although it was (before amalgamation to the city of Gatineau in 2001 - which probably gives the Aylmer sector right now somewhere near 50,000) one of the major suburbs of Ottawa - the metro population at that time was close to 1 million in 1994. Meanwhile, the one in Hull, Quebec rated as F1 will be added as in 1999 it was anchoring Ottawa, and it hit in what was according to many locals the second Hull downtown and it was well over 50,000 persons (it was about 65,000 at that - Ottawa metro over 1 million) --JForget 00:26, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Suburbs do not count. It has to hit the central business district. Otherwise there would be many others - including some F4's and F5's - on here. CrazyC83 02:42, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Richmond & Petersburg Tornadoes[edit]

Added Richmond and Petersburg VA tornadoes; this data was checked via NCDC storm reports and the Virginia Emergency Management archive of Virginia tornado statistics; the Petersburg tornado is also linked to the Wikipedia article for the 1993 Virginia tornado outbreak.

I did not add the super outbreak tornadoes that struck Xenia, OH and Huntsville, AL; though they passed through part of the CBD I was unable to locate a detailed maps of the precise path to verify this. I think both storms probably warrant inclusion however. Davidals 02:42, 03 October 2006 (UTC)

Based on CrazyC83's criteria, Xenia has well below 50,000 residents (it had 24 000 in 2000)--JForget 20:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Evansville tornado[edit]

I don't know if it's me, but based on the tornado track, doesn't seem that it hit downtown Evansville - more like the southeastern suburbs which is probably a good 10-15 miles away from downtown. If Evansville is on the list, you might as well add the Birmingham F5's of 1977 and 1998 which were located just a few miles northwest of downtown Birmingham and ditto for the Louisville tornado of 1974 and Tuscaloosa in 2000 and the 1975 Omaha tornado (I've added the 1913 Easter Sunday event that killed 103 and hit the downtown portion before crossing into Iowa). --JForget 20:02, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know, the Barrie tornado did not hit downtown in 1985 and the recent tornado in New Orleans, I presume did not hit downtown as well and I'm removing the central Florida tornado as the city does not meet the criteria of 50,000 cities - it has 20,000-25,000 much like Xenia.--JForget 02:38, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes; likewise, downtown OKC wasn't hit in May 99 nor was Moore nor is Moore large enough, and I don't think Kenner/New Orleans should be listed either. Evolauxia 06:14, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Globalizing the topic[edit]

Since this article is mostly about the United States and Canada, should we rename it to "List of North American tornadoes striking downtown areas"? If not, should i search for European, Australian or world-wide tornadoes that hit any downtown areas? RingtailedFoxTalkStalk 18:57, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I would keep the article global, but perhaps separate non-North American events into their own table. I know many European capitals have been directly hit (as was Wash DC in 1814 during the War of 1812) in historic times as have other large cities, and recently London and Hamburg were hit, but I'm not sure if the CBD was hit (particularly for London). "Famous" tornado events have occurred in Calcutta, Tokyo, Moscow, London, Venice, Paris, Utrecht, and Panama City off the top of my head. With historical events, it might take some digging to determine if it hit downtown and what would constitute downtown/CBD. Evolauxia 01:23, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Oooh! That would be much appreciated if you could dig information on those cities, especially the historical ones. Although i have the Utrecht Tornado covered fairly well, I would love it if you could also find information on that one, just to confirm or update information i already have on that historical tornado. RingtailedFoxTalkStalk 00:20, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

I will try to find more information on non-North American tornadoes. Evolauxia 02:38, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I found some location information on a few international large city tornadoes, using The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm (ISBN # 0-8061-3258-2) by Thomas Grazulis as a reference. I hope this info is useful in at least clarifying the status of some of these events -
- Moscow outbreak of 1904: apparently, one of the two tornadoes to hit the city was relatively close to the city center, and exposed the bed of the Moscow River briefly.
- Tokyo tornado of 1964: hit the southwestern suburbs, so probably not a CBD tornado.
- Venice tornado of 1970: overturned a water bus in the St. Marks basin, killing 22 people.
- Panama City tornado of 1992: hit the southeast edge of the city. Possibly not CBD.
According to a page I once read on TORRO's website (www.torro.org.uk), the London tornado of 1091 hit the church at "St. Mary Le Bow"...I have never been able to determine if this is actually what is now Marylebone. If so, then that storm could be classified as a CBD tornado, I think, although of course there was much less there at the time. CapeFearWX 04:24, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Erroneous downtown/CBD listings[edit]

Several listings near large cities or even within city limits but not not striking the central business district downtown (concentration of mid- to high rises) are being added and should be removed. We'll have to watch this page and confirm that downtown areas are indeed hit. Evolauxia 22:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I've added the reference from Hull - but it's in French only, no English sources were available and Environment Canada has a poor record for making available tornado information to the public.
Second of all, I don't think the London tornado hit the CBD as I don't think it hit the City nor Canary Wharf, which I believe are London's CBD's
And finally, was last weekend's St. Louis tornado inside the downtown limits - I don't exactly its limits but from this map [1] it did but I will wait before adding St. Louis to the list which would the 4th ever to strike downtown.JForget 23:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for responding with the citation so quickly, French is fine (I can read it, but you translated it too) as long as it verifies the event. I'm not sure about the London tornado either; and I don't think the Hamburg tornado last summer was in the downtown either but am not sure. The St. Louis tornado is iffy so I've avoided adding it, I'm intimately familiar with the area, it's not the core of the CBD but it is Midtown with mid/high-rises and large public facilities. I'm not averse to adding it, as it was in a heavily built up area of a major city and struck a hospital and parking garage within said city. Luckily it wasn't as bad as so many of the other tornadoes in the city have been (an argument could be made of more than 4 striking downtown). Evolauxia 02:35, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I reviewed the path map and added the St. Louis tornado per the concentration of mid-high rises, large public buildings, hospitals, parking garage, urban expressways, and urban university campus in the area. The tornado struck Midtown, it was close but did not strike what is considered downtown or at least strictly the downtown core (there are no hard delineations unless you consult municipal maps and that brings in the arbitrariness); Midtown Manhattan is not Downtown, but it would obviously be suitable for listing if a tornado struck there.
The question arises of (*) what constitutes a central business district/downtown and why do we care, (*) why are making such a listing; is it an area of mid-high rises and other large buildings within a large urban area or is it strictly the area designated CBD/downtown (which is most often where concentration of large buildings is, but not always, and in many cases is what we're trying to capture by using CBD/downtown)?. It does complicate urban tornado climatology and discerning what is and is not an area that should be considered CBD/downtown when making listings. That is complicated further by tornadoes in the past when cities were different and there weren't the tall buildings that have existed since the late 19th century. Certainly, some of these events should be considered downtown tornadoes and are listed unchallenged, others might have to be examined.
We really should (1) standardize things, and (2) state all the criteria explicitly on the main page, and then (3) be as diligent as possible in enforcing that. I don't object to a list of notable exceptions of destructive tornadoes within large city limits or metropolitan areas (especially exceptionally highly destructive/deadly or largest cities and capitals), though the CBD areas should be the focus and there is no shortage of work there. I'll examine the methodologies of the SPC study, Fujita studies, and other urban tornado studies. There is also the question of smaller, "insignificant" tornadoes, if the list doesn't become unwieldy they're okay, but at some point we may limit to the more damaging, "significant" events.
  1. There should be a minimum population (perhaps different in more distant past), 50,000 - for the core city, not the entire metro - seems reasonable *if* there is an area of tall buildings, large public buildings or is otherwise obviously built up urban. It doesn't have to be a metropolis or contain skyscrapers but should be a substantial city (which varies from country to country and region to region; but using the tall, urban buildings or perhaps population density mitigates this). Utica, IL in April 2004 and Greesnburg, KS in May 2007 certainly had downtown areas wiped out, but aren't big cities.
  2. Most obviously, we need to remove some of the ambiguity of what constitutes a CBD / downtown area, work towards an agreement, and be as explicit but still generally applicable (i.e. flexible) as possible. Again, we may have to adjust for tornadoes preceding the advent of mid-high rises (which varies from place to place, from late 18th century to present). A concentration of such tall building, large public buildings, and other similar urban markers are what I consider as pertinent to be added, but the details need hashing out, and it does complicate things vs just juxtaposing a path map over a designated CBD / downtown.
  3. We also need strict sourcing for *every* event, citing the same source repeatedly when applicable, but *every* event should be clearly, authoritatively sourced.
There is also the matter of large venues of concentrated people, be it sports stadiums, races, concerts, festivals, backed up highway traffic, etc; a large death toll is only a matter of time, and it may or may not involve a CBD. Eventually I'd like to expand the tornado climatology article and more specifically the tornado histories of certain areas. Evolauxia 16:25, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Downtown[edit]

I see this has been discussed before, but I don't think the definition of downtown is correct in this article. I thought this page was dedicated to "tornadoes that hit relatively large cities" and not just defined as "tornadoes that hit the downtowns of large cities"? For example, the Huntsville tornado hit a section of south Huntsville but not really near the downtown area...I think that if we include something like this then we need to include something like the Oklahoma City tornado. I mean, that F5 got pretty close to the city, practically going around it. The Huntsville tornado should def. be in there, but I was just thinking that maybe we should review the terms for being listed in this article? Love each other, or perish. ~Auden 06:35, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Huntsville and similar should not be included, this listing only regards downtown/CBD of large cities. Some of us try to remove erroneous listings but it's a never ending task. Evolauxia 06:01, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Ok, then I agree. I'll try to edit some things myself. Love each other, or perish. ~Auden 20:17, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

If this is only for Large Cities perhaps the article should have that in its name.

Original research[edit]

The problems of determining what constitutes a central business district/downtown area and what size city counts as a threshold have been elaborated on above. Some kind of stricter standardization is still in order. Addition of events not meeting the "consensus" so far laid out continually require purging. Given the ambiguities involved, it occurs to me that the list may be in breach of original research. This is so even when an event is well sourced, if that source does not specifically state that a downtown area was hit. The very act of determining here on Wikipedia the characteristics of what is added possibly opens up NOR issues. Thoughts?

In the meantime, vigilance is required on verifying new events as they are added if this list is to be of encyclopedia/almanac standard. Evolauxia (talk) 10:12, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Louisville - January 29, 2008[edit]

I'm not familiar of the exact downtown limits of Louisville, Kentucky but is the University of Louisville located in the CBD limits. I'm asking this because an EF1 tornado touched down on the western side of the campus on January 29, 2008 and based on the location on the second touchdown near U of L, this looks very close to the CBD limits.--JForget 03:39, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Here's the exact locations of the touchdowns and you could see the first two touchdowns are very close to the CBD limits and looks to be much further north then when the 1974 tornado started which was just east of the International Airport or Standiford Field.--JForget 18:22, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Tornadoes that hit downtown[edit]

I found a web site that list major cities that were hit by a tornado in downtown. It's a partial list but I thought I'd share this with you.[2] Rvk41 (talk) 07:24, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I think they've omitted virtually all the F0's on the list, I'm sure if I check the Tornado History Project which has maps, I can find several more F0 tornadoes but that would make the list extremely long.JForget 13:21, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Take off Dallas and San Antonio![edit]

Dallas, Texas shouldn't be on the list because THE POPULATION WAS WELL BELOW 50,000 IN 1894. That is against the rules!

Also, Tornado History Project is not an accurate source to determine if a tornado strikes a downtown area. San Antonio, Texas should not be on list unless there is proof on another source.

Somebody respond please!

Missing cases, Europe[edit]

If some more Wiki-used SUer could add some notable cases from EU!


1968, F4, Pforzheim (>100 000 Inhabitants), the storm ripped through the city center, leaving one of the most serious examples of skyscaper-damage (blown empty) Scroll down to 1968: http://www.tornadoliste.de/tornadoliste1970.htm http://www.wetterzentrale.de/cgi-bin/webbbs/wzarchive2003_2.pl?noframes%3bread=339356 The european windspeed estimations, which do (other standards of constructions) not follow the eF scale) would NOW uprate it... Very fortunately only two deaths, a wodner.

1973, F3, Kiel (>200 000 inhabitants) http://www.saevert.de/2kieltornado1973.htm One casuality (due do flying debris)

2003, F1 Vienna (>1,5 million inhabitants) Serious damage to inner town districts by a large, but fortunately not too strong tornado http://www.unwetterstatistik.at/analysen/tornados/2003/030513.html The supercell tornado was accompanied by a very serious hail-event in the north of the town (dense hailfall, 6cm diameter)

2003, F1 Graz (250 000 inhabitants). Small tornado path with some damage to the central park and surrounding roofs, a few people severely injured by falling trees. http://www.unwetterstatistik.at/analysen/tornados/2003/030829.html

Graz downtown had at least another (likely) tornado 2004, F1 (downburst not completely ruled out), 2 more cases like that 1998 (F1) (and several reported tornados (in or close to the town) in the last 100 years.) http://www.tordach.org/at

Herfried (www.skywarn.at) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.171.7.39 (talk) 15:04, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes, it's true! And the one who's pulling the strings...... Haahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madison Wisconsin[edit]

In 1968, an f2 tornado hit north of the isthmus. Many other weaker ones have touched down in the city. These are little known events, though they did occur.

http://www.tornadoproject.com/alltorns/witorn.htm http://climate.engin.umich.edu/TornadoPATHS/?zip=53711 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trilobite12 (talkcontribs) 20:51, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

-That evidence doesn't really show proof of that tornado touching down in a downtown area.

Sources?[edit]

I see little to no sources for many of the tornadoes, especially the european ones. Also, the ratings of a lot of the european tornadoes look exaggerated, as well as ratings for anywhere before 1950. While I may be wrong, I have not been able to verify the vast majority of violent european tornadoes, particuarly those listed as F5. Could somebody look into this? The lists may need to be cut down a lot if sources cannot be found. Inferno, Lord of Penguins 20:47, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Shreveport tornado hit downtown?[edit]

It sounds like the EF2 tornado affected the downtown area. In the survey, NWS Shreveport says that the tornado produced damage along Blanchard Road heading into downtown Shreveport and then crossed the Red River south of the Diamond Jacks Casino. Looking at Google Maps, the casino seems to be facing directly downtown Shreveport from across the river. Euh and by the way regarding the EF4 tornado on April 10, it didn't went through downtown Murfreesboro but the northern subdivisions. JForget 23:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I deleted Murfreesboro, it was about 2-3 miles north of the downtown area (and for a small city, that is a big difference). Shreveport yes, it was on the ground through downtown even though damage there was minimal, so that should be listed (it will still get listed as EF2 being the tornado's rating despite the fact downtown only had EF0 damage). CrazyC83 (talk) 00:37, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Seattle: 1969 tornado DID NOT hit the CBD[edit]

Not even close. Who writes this stuff as if it's some sort of resemblance of truth? The September 1962 F1 twister hit a bit closer to Seattle's downtown, but even that one was still out in the neighborhoods (Sand Point, several miles NE of downtown proper) even if it was within the boundaries of the city itself. But the 1969 tornado was south and outside of the city; at best one could categorize it as being in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

I barely remember the '69 event (I think the twister largely touched down in Kent, WA, a suburb of Seattle, or more generally in the larger region commonly referred to as the Kent Valley if not within Kent's actual city limits--so sue me, I was a snot-nose grade school kid at the time), and was still in diapers to be able to personally recall the '62 tornado. The earlier event was relayed to me by my parents (Dad, I'm pretty sure) years after the actual incident. Since my own memories aren't as sharp as they once were, I went and verified the dates from the City of Seattle's own Office of Emergency Management historic disasters web page.

http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/hazards/history.htm

Monoblocks (talk) 06:01, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Okay, okay, time out.[edit]

People have been posting on this page about the insane number of inappropriate entries, and I've decided to finally do something about it. Soon, anyway. I'll be cutting out every tornado on this list that does not have conclusive proof that the tornado went through the downtown area. -RunningOnBrains(talk) 10:42, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I tried to keep it cleaned when I was a more active editor but it was a chore even then. Now that I've been gone it's a real mess. Keeping up with it is the stumbler (and I know others were trying), as the problems and solutions are fairly well identified on the article page and quite well on the talk pages. I was also planning to purge most of the list but move unclear entries to the talk page. Evolauxia (talk) 11:09, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Continuing erroneous inclusion issues[edit]

I've been away for a while but am about to embark on a task of cleaning up this article. (1) Firstly, I'm going to change the name to "List of tornadoes striking downtown areas of large cities". (2) Secondly, I'm going to purge listings for which I have doubts because they are not sourced or because they're improperly sourced. There is a rampant Wikipedia:Original research issue of WP:Synth in the listing. To guard against removing legitimate events for events that are unclear on whether sourcing confirms the listing, I will move those to this talk page. (3) Thirdly, criteria should be refined, a consensus developed, and then criteria enforced. The formal criteria should be clearly listed in the talk page or at Wikipedia:WikiProject Severe weather. Since significant discussion and agreement exists on the problems and criteria, Wikipedia:Protection policy should be considered to aid enforcement.

Definitions: Downtown has been the central business district. This was an easy proxy for an urban core of a large city with, since industrialization, high population density and/or mid-high rise buildings. This listing is included for heightened human impact and because it's interesting that cities indeed experience tornadoes (as scientific research and SPC agree). As downtown/CBD is an approximation, the political or colloquial boundaries may not necessarily be strict as long as agreed upon criteria (population density, mid-level high rise area, etc.) are met. Individual suburbs would be included if criteria are met, even if not the largest city in a metropolitan area. This severely complicates WP:Synth and adds work to checking on sources, so we may need to stick with "formal" boundaries. If certain criteria are allowed rather than a downtown/CBD, then specific values are necessary. 50,000 seems fine to me for the minimum population of a respective city.

Every listing requires sourcing. The source must explicitly state or otherwise directly indicate that the tornado occurred within the bounds of a downtown area of large city (at a time when the area was indeed downtown and city indeed large).

In short, for this listing to be viable utility for its purpose, I advocate a conservative inclusion policy vs. a liberal one. Evolauxia (talk) 11:21, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

The newly implemented cutthroat exclusion embargo does not make sufficiently clear what specific criteria are needed for both inclusion and verifiability. Clearly, we have thousands of news, photo and video sources showing that the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado did indeed go through the metropolitan core of the city of Tuscaloosa, narrowly missing the Bryant-Denny Stadium. For any tornadoes, a map of the exact track, or even a satellite picture should clear up any uncertaintainties. Also, no reason was given to why this only applies to North American cities, and not to any other continents when North America sees the most and the most violent tornadoes in any given year. What sources are valid for clear confirmation, and which are only auxillary sources to be used in the presence of an already-made clear verification? How about reports from the National Weather Service, that directly state the tornado track going through the city, or is a map preferrable? Some of the oldest entries will see no updates, such as those from the 19th century, so this recent change in inclusion policy needs a clear and consistently straightforward explanation. Do we now only include those mentioned in the single SPC source, or are there other circumstances under which extraordinarily clear-cut evidence for meeting the criteria merit the inclusion of an entry? Even that source states: "This is just a partial list of tornadoes", and does not have the same criteria that we do, which is a minimum population of 50,000. Please further the continue discussion to establish collaborative criteria. Thanks. ~AH1 (discuss!) 01:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The source must explicitly state that a tornado passed through a downtown area or central business district, otherwise it's WP:Synth. If a map depicts both of these things, then that is sufficient but multiple maps (to show where a tornado struck and where urban boundaries are) opens up too many problems. If the policy and enforcement are not strict, the listing is diluted from its original intent --and from what it states itself to be. Passing through a city limits does not count; it must be the urban core, not houses or low-rise buildings. Hence, downtown/city centre or CBD of a large city. There is a gray area regarding this definition as discussed at points above. If sources can be found that show events meet these criteria, then an event can be added, including those that were removed. I inadvertently removed the Huntsville, AL tornado of 21 Jan 2011, so am not contesting it being placed back on the list. The city must have had been large (at the time of the tornado occurrence. Other regions are to be pruned, North America is merely the first. I agree that we need to outline a policy on what are acceptable sources. NWS/SPC/NCDC, DAPPL (Fujita/University of Chicago), Tornado Project/Grazulis, scientific papers and formal works including books are preferable, but other sources suffice if they are explicit. The popular media are not as rigorous so are less reliable, but sometimes are the only available source, especially soon after an event occurs. The rest of the questions are answered on this talk page but should be condensed and formalized. The inherent ambiguities are the original reason for the "Notable absences" section, which is also in need of cleanup and clarification. Evolauxia (talk) 12:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)


I would assume that articles from Newspaper/Radio/television station websites would be considered as accurate sources, alongside the national weather office (Environment Canada, National Weather Service, Met. Office of UK, and so on). I also think we should mention that only cities of 50,000 ("middle-sized") and bigger are included. This should be applied equally to all continents, like Asia, South America, Europe, though the list will always tilt heavily towards North America (followed by England and the Central European Plain, then India and Bangladesh), thanks to their sheer numbers of tornadoes, as well as severe tornadoes (F3/EF3 or stronger). Having a conservative inclusion policy? I always thought that was the policy of this webpage, though I've included any tornadoes that were reported to have been tracked over the respective city's central business district. I'll admit, I'm surprised of the frequency of occurrence. It's much higher than I had anticipated. Now, regarding all of the souces for those articles, they are listed collectively on the bottom of the page, or on the tornado/tornado outbreak pages. I thought linking to a page that had its own sources would be enough, but if not, I can easily copy the sources from the other pages to this one.


I hope to be able to answer several of the issues below: Verifiability: Was it reported on a local website, city/town website, or a local newspaper/radio/television station webpage? If it's historical, are there accurate accounts and photos of the tornado? An example of this requirement being satisfied would be the 1946 Windsor-Tecumseh Tornado.
World View: This page, while tilting in favour of North America due to its susceptibility to tornado-producing storms, should retain a nation- or continent-neutral stance. While North America will most-likely always dominate this list with the most events, Tornadoes have been proven to occur on every continent, and this list should reflect that. We also need to remember that there is far less landmass in the Southern Hemisphere, which is partly why fewer tornadoes form there.
The Downtown-or-simply-other-urban-areas argument: If the sources listed in "Verifiability" above EXPLICITLY mention it went over downtown, then I think it should be referenced. Cities often have vague definitions of their central business district or downtown, and people often have different opinions on which neighbourhood or part of the city would constitute part of the "downtown core". Sure, a few cities do have explicit boundaries of their downtowns (for things like business licensing and other purposes), and may even have neighbourhoods have "Downtown" or "Centre-Ville" in their name, It will not be easy to satisfy. So, in this case, I would propose that if a tornado's damage path passes within 3 km (2 miles) of City Hall, it would count as a downtown strike. Usually, this would include tall office towers, apartment buildings, stadiums, and other high-density structures.
What sources should be used: As stated before in Verifiability, Newspapers, local websites, radio and television stations should all be considered, but used as secondary sources. Primary sources would be the United States' National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center, National Climatic Data Center reports from the University of Chicago (and other educational institutions), along with the reports from Ted Fujita and Thomas P. Grazulis (and his website, http://www.tornadoproject.com/), Canada's Environment Canada, the United Kingdom's Met Office, and Europe's TORRO and ESSL, as previously mentioned.
As for re-adding tornadoes that have occurred this year: The Huntsville and Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornadoes should be re-added, as those were shown to have struck the downtown core. Television stations such as WBMA-LP (the American Broadcasting Company network affiliate for Birmingham) has its studios and weather camera downtown, and they were close enough to pick it up on camera. That is undeniable proof of a rare tornado striking one downtown area (Tuscaloosa, as shown in pictures on its article page), travelling 56 miles, and then striking a second downtown area (look up WBMA-LP's website, or the tornado on Youtube... it was filmed by all local stations and thousands of people that had cameras and cellphones).
This should clarify things and answer any lingering questions. RingtailedFoxTalkContribs 08:23, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Some large cities and towns with population 50,000+ in fact do not have a district specifically for high-rise buildings. What about when a tornado goes through residential and apartment complexes that are medium-rise but the area is located less than 3 km from "municipal offices"? In some cases, the city/town will be so small and compact that such a distance places the maximum radius outside of the municipal limits. Also, when a tornado hits an extended metropolitan agglomeration area that does have high-rise buildings but the area is not within the limits of the main city and is in fact within another municipality that has a population lower than 50,000, should that be included? For example, Albany, New Zealand was hit by a tornado but it is part of the Auckland area. Definitions of what constitutes a city or town vary widely, as for example Jerome, Arkansas (pop. 46) calls itself a city but Markham, Ontario (pop. 290,000) is called a town. ~AH1 (discuss!) 16:39, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
You make great points, AH1. Just to be easily-understood, I thought we'd ignore the petty details like if a location is registered with its state or province as a city, and considered an agglomeration within the municipal limits that has 50,000 or more residents as a city, regardless of its status. I agree that many towns and cities don't have a district *just* for high-rise buildings. The city of Windsor is the same way... sure, many of them are clustered together in the center of the city, but they're also sprinkled throughout it, such as Solidarity Tower on the far-east end. If a city is very compact, but still has 50,000 people... I'd consider it a direct hit if the tornado struck within 3 km of the city hall. If the area that has high-rise buildings is *not* within 3 km of downtown, we would need to consider it as not a direct hit, though if the city is like La Salle, Ontario, which "moved" most of its downtown from along Front Street (former Highway 18, now County Road 20) to Malden Road (County Road 3), and thus has basically TWO downtown areas... we'd need to discuss it on the talk page for inclusion or exclusion.


I know many European cities don't have apartment buildings or office towers, yet have well over 50,000 people, and some are compact in size (thanks to their use of mid-rise buildings up to 6 floors throughout most of the city).

Criteria for inclusion
Type of town Inclusion? Example location(s)
Average size, unambiguously-identifiable (or an official boundary/neighbourhood) "downtown core" or central business district Yes Detroit, Michigan; Fort Worth, Texas
Average size city without an official boundary for downtown Yes Cleveland, Ohio
Compact city with unambiguously-identifiable (or an official boundary/neighbourhood) "downtown core" or central business district Yes Windsor, Ontario
Compact city without an official boundary for downtown Yes Regina, Saskatchewan
Major suburb below 50,000 neighbouring a major city over 50,000? No Oak Park, Michigan
Cluster of high-rise buildings away from downtown or "secondary" downtown Debatable Canary Wharf, London, England; La Salle, Ontario
Central Business District/Downtown Core more than 3 km (2 miles) from city hall Debatable New York City
Location granted "City" status with less than 50,000 people No Jerome, Arkansas; Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Location not granted "city" status, despite having more than 50,000 people Yes Markham, Ontario; Abbotsford, British Columbia
Suburb of 50,000 or more, next to a major city, if it was also hit Yes Kenner, Louisiana/New Orleans, Louisiana; Mississauga, Ontario/Toronto, Ontario
Suburb of less than 50,000, next to a major city, if it was also hit No Ferndale, Michigan/Detroit, Michigan, Tecumseh, Ontario/Windsor, Ontario

My my, all of this work into this list... it's like we're re-inventing the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with all of its Damage indicators and degrees of damage... :) RingtailedFoxTalkContribs 19:10, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I'm thinking that we should include "unverified" metropolitan tornadoes, as we would now call them in a new section below. I'll post a few examples of the most recent ones that serve as an addition to the ones removed but caution that fewer older entries should have been removed in an effort to skew the table away from recentism. ~AH1 (discuss!) 00:16, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Are you referring to the "Notable absences" section of the article? I have that to explain why those tornadoes are not included (cities that were less than 50,000 at the time, but are now well over 50,000... or tornadoes that struck the built-up parts of the cities, but did not directly hit their downtown cores). RingtailedFoxTalkContribs 05:49, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I was going to suggest listing the most recent metropolitan tornadoes on the talkpage and create a short backlog until we could find all the necessary verifiable sources for them. However it appears the recent notable ones (Joplin, Minneapolis, Springfield MA etc.) were already included. The table gives the implication that metropolitan tornadoes are exponentially increasing. ~AH1 (discuss!) 21:08, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
A few of the recent entries shouldn't be there. The Minneapolis EF1 was more in the northwest side of the metro area. The Fayetteville EF3 was more in the outskirts area of the city rather then downtown. As for the two violent ones, I can say that the Joplin tornado passed just south of downtown, although I don't know the actual limits of their downtown so that can be debatable. Same thing for Tuscaloosa (although it looked to be south of downtown) and it wasn't even close to downtown Birmingham, probably not even in the city limits as it hit north Hueytown, Pleaseant Grove, south McDonald Chapel and then northward to Fultondale which a good 6-8 miles at least from downtown which would be south of the I-20/59 and I-65 interchange.173.179.155.183 (talk) 15:51, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Just how are we officially classifying a downtown here? I would not say Moore, OK has a downtown. I used to live in Ames, Iowa which has a "downtown" area and its population is over 50,000. However, most people live in the southern part of the city with pretty much no one living in "downtown" and the businesses there are maybe 1 or 2 stories tall. The tallest buildings are in this southern residential area I mentioned. If a tornado struck there, it wouldn't be hitting "downtown" would it? Why would Moore be included? It barely has 50,000 people and has no downtown that I know of. Even if it did, no reports of a downtown being hit are in the news. I'm removing it until someone can provide reasoning or a news source that supports the "downtown" of Moore being hit. lukini (talk | contribs) 17:57, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

References[edit]

May I suggest the inclusion of a new column for placing the references? The current presentation is pretty ugly.--Jetstreamer (talk) 11:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The article still needs other work but that's a good suggestion that is now done. Evolauxia (talk) 12:30, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

removal of 2012 tornadoes[edit]

Should the Tornadoes that hit Harrisburg, IL and West Liberty and Saylersville, KY tornadoes be removed? All three appear to have populations well below 50,000. Should we add one of those editing notes to the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by TornadoLGS (talkcontribs) 17:28, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

  • I've also removed on Sept 9. the Charlotte and Austin tornadoes as they were barely within the city limits and at least a good 10 miles from the CBD. Though apparently it was re-instated without really a valid explanation (maybe a mistake). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.179.155.183 (talk) 18:39, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to attempt to edit the list again. I was active on the weather pages in the past, but have spent the last 18 months dealing with some very serious medical issues, and I haven't always been able to spend any time here. This list is a mess, however. Many storms that went nowhere near the CBD of several cities. Davidals (talk) 03:21, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Improper additions[edit]

As shown above by copious discussions over several years, this article has continuing problems of (1) claimed events not verified by the citations (2) events being listed that struck a populated area but not the downtown/central business district of a large city --as was the original purpose of the list.

In all cases, a reliable source that explicitly states a downtown/CBD area afflicted are necessary. Original research, unreliable sources, misinterpretations and fuzzy interpretations are not acceptable.

Few would see Moore (or various other examples) and think "this is the downtown of a major city" akin to such examples as Miami, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Ft. Worth, or St. Louis. The list becomes a diluted unuseful mess that equates apples with oranges. There are reasons that authoritative original source lists such as SPC include far fewer events. That list is actively updated. Review its qualifying statements. Evolauxia (talk) 23:01, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I give up on this thing. People keep adding it back with sources that have nothing to do with a "downtown" area. How does Moore have a downtown? A quick look at the city shows no area that looks like a downtown. None of the buildings hit were more than 2-3 stories tall.
I live 2 blocks from a theater and about 20 businesses, but this isn't a "downtown." It is a high density residential area. There are 5+ hospitals around me and only 2 are in downtown areas. A few businesses and a hospital doesn't mean it is a downtown area. This has been mentioned so many times on the talk page. These kind of additions are just diluting the meaning of "downtown areas of large cities" to basically be "a few businesses close together in a city." If someone else wants to devote more time to this, go ahead. There are too many people who don't seem to understand what a downtown area is. It certainly isn't a hospital and a theater next to each other. lukini (talk | contribs) 23:24, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Maybe one of problems is that 50,000 people is too small to be considered a "large city." I wouldn't consider Joplin to be a major city but if it remains on the list, Moore should be on there as well. The tornado that went through Joplin didn't explicitly go through the downtown area anyway. Hennies (talk) 23:47, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
You bring up a good point with the Joplin tornado. I never looked into it, but it didn't hit their downtown. This is Joplin's downtown: http://goo.gl/maps/3y1Wf. Here is the storm track: http://goo.gl/maps/0KwKh. This is also true for the 2009 Minneapolis tornado. It actually tracked slightly north of downtown. However, I'm not sure if there was damage to the downtown area, because that tornado was much closer than in Joplin.
However, you are missing a big point here. Note that there is no area that looks even remotely close to Joplin's downtown anywhere in the city of Moore. You can identify Joplin's downtown from an aerial view, like many downtown areas, but not in Moore. I marked in red the area you are calling "downtown" in this image: http://i.imgur.com/2eWeEwl.jpg. Storm track for reference: http://goo.gl/maps/nqV0M. It is 2 larger businesses and a hospital. Very spaced out, too. I'd consider it a business district, but definitely not a central business district. Here is an example using Ames, Iowa. Green marks the central business district, red marks a business district: http://i.imgur.com/RLiWWor.jpg. lukini (talk | contribs) 14:42, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
You make good points. It doesn't seem that Moore has anything that could be defined as "downtown" or "central business district." I suppose I was thinking that since the tornado went right through the heart of the city (maybe slightly south of the geographic center), it should count. But it could all be moot anyway since I agree with what Evolauxia said above in that I wouldn't consider Moore to be a "major city." I also don't consider Joplin and La Crosse to be major cities either, so maybe they be taken off the list as well. That's why I think the 50,000 people threshold for inclusion on the list may be too small. Hennies (talk) 03:19, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I would think that the population for inclusion should be bumped up to 150,000 to prevent these things and actually make the article about the title (List of tornadoes striking downtown areas of "large cities").
Moore is indeed not the only erroneously listed entry. There are some cities of 50,000 that do have a small CBD with mid-high rises and others that do not, but I support upping the criterion to 100,000 and would not oppose increasing it to 150,000. To avoid the ambiguities surrounding what constitutes a downtown area/CBD, every entry should cite a reliable source that explicitly states that a tornado directly struck such an area. Regarding definitions, the beginning of the article links to downtown and central business district which typically are designated areas and certainly are recognized by the popular press, government and scientific organizations, etc.
I previously purged many entries but the list is again full of misleading entries. A few notable exceptions could be listed in the appropriate section but this should be sparsely utilized. Examples could be for cities under the population limit where a tornado nonetheless passes through a concentration of mid-level highrises (strict citation criterion should apply) or for significant tornadoes passing very near the downtown/CBD of a major city as clarification in potentially confusing cases. Evolauxia (talk) 08:03, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I've removed the OKC entry from this year, as it was several miles away. Joplin should not be on the list unless the tornado was wide enough to clip the extreme southern tip, but the tornado would've had to be at least 3 miles wide, and it was at most 1 mile wide. The Minneapolis tornado that hit on the same day, was actually in the northern suburbs, not downtown like it was the case in 2009. Vaughan should also be removed as the actual downtown (or the downtown under development is at Jane and Hwy 7 while the tornado did hit Jane Street but at least 2-3 miles north of Hwy 7 (hit just north of Canada's Wonderland). The NCDC/NOAA storm survey report source for the Alexandria tornado indicates it only briefly entered the city and does not mention downtown at all. And the title of the source for the LA tornado says it all. I'm hesistant to remove other entries though. 135.19.110.221 (talk) 21:21, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

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Los Angeles??[edit]

How is South Los Angeles considered downtown? BacktoDurkheim (talk) 00:38, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

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