This tornado hit Waco, Texas on the 11th of May, 1953. That morning dawned hot and muggy across much of Texas and by 9:30 a.m. there were storms moving in and creating a strong outflow boundary. Tornadoes began occurring in other parts of Texas by mid-afternoon, and at approximately 4:10 p.m. the tornado touched down just southwest of Waco. From there, it began to move to the north-northeast.
Those that were there on that day, and those that helped pick up the pieces after, judged the tornado to be over 1/3 of a mile in width. It was also raining very heavily at the time that the tornado came through, making it more difficult to see the coming twister and therefore try to get to safety. After the tornado cut a swath through Waco it continued to move to the north-northeast and finally dissipated, leaving a 23-mile long path of destruction in its wake.
Almost 600 people were injured in the Waco tornado, and 114 were killed. People that had been trapped by the tornado waited up to 14 hours for rescue and bodies were often not located in the rubble for several days. The twister, rated an F5 on the Fujita scale, damaged over 1000 homes and businesses and completely destroyed over 600 more, as well as damaging or destroying 2000 vehicles. The cost of the Waco tornado was $41 million in 1953, which would equal over $310 million in today’s dollars.
April 5th, 1936 was the day of the Tupelo, Mississippi tornado. It began in Yalobusha County near Coffeeville, leveled hundreds of buildings, and killed many people, including some entire families. In order to treat the wounded, a movie theater was used as a makeshift hospital. The popcorn machine was put into use because it reached temperatures high enough to sterilize the surgical instruments. More Info
The tornado that struck Gainesville, Georgia on April 6th, 1936 was actually a pair of tornadoes. They headed east-northeast through downtown at the beginning of the workday and took separate paths into the city. The two tornadoes converged into an area of only four blocks that was completely destroyed.
The devastation from this tornado occurred on April 24th, 1908 and cut a swath across both Louisiana and Mississippi. The tornado was reported to have been over two miles in width, and traveled for 155 miles before finally dissipating. Out of the 150 homes that the tornado passed by in Purvis County, only seven were still left standing. This tornado is sometime called the Dixie Tornado.
The tornado that hit New Richmond, Wisconsin on June 12th of 1899 actually started out as a waterspout that formed over Lake St. Croix. From there, it headed east in the direction of New Richmond and produced winds so strong that they carried a 3000-pound safe for an entire city block before dropping it again. The amount of flying debris was massive and, coupled with the wind, destroyed or damaged over 300 buildings.
The tornado that came through St. Louis, Missouri on May 27th, 1896 originally formed only six miles west of the Eads Bridge. It swept away or damaged many of the homes and buildings that were built along the river but left the steel span bridge largely undamaged. The St. Louis tornado was part of a major outbreak that caused significant damage throughout several states. It passed through the main part of the city, laying waste to buildings and killing 137 people in a mile-wide path of destruction. More Info