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Top 10 Most Devastating Tornadoes in History

Scientifically explained, Tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud. It’s a weather phenomenon that always has a bad ending for the people. A tornado is more likely to form in the United States than in any other country in the world.

There’s even a region that is called Tornado Valley. They form when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air. The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms.

The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft. The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction. The tornadoes are able to die off when they move over colder ground or when the cumulonimbus clouds above them start to break up.

Here are the most devastating tornadoes/record-holders in history, mostly in America.

1. New Richmond, Wisconsin’s deadliest Tornado, 1899


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The state’s worst tornado occurred on June 12, 1899, when the town of New Richmond was almost entirely obliterated. The Milwaukee Journal reported that 500 buildings were destroyed and the only structures of any note still standing where the Catholic and Baptist churches. A large safe, weighing 300 pounds, was caught up and carried for a block. 117 persons were killed in New Richmond and vicinity and 125 injured. The safest place proved to be a cellar, but even there several persons perished.

2. Tri-State Tornado, Missouri Illinois and Indiana, 1925


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Tri-State Tornado of 1925, also called the Great Tri-State Tornado, tornado the deadliest in U.S. history, traveled from southeastern Missouri through southern Illinois and into southwestern Indiana on March 18, 1925. The storm completely destroyed a number of towns and caused 695 deaths.

3. Waco Tornado, Texas, 1935


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The Waco tornado was one of only five reported that day, though it’s quite likely there were more than that. The Waco tornado killed 114 people and injured 597. Another of the tornadoes reported on May 11, 1953, was an F4 that struck parts of San Angelo, Texas off to the west of Waco. 13 people were killed there.

4. Flint-Beecher Tornado, Michigan,1953


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This was the last tornado to kill over 100 people in a single tornado event anywhere in the United States. On June 8th, 1953, 116 people lost their lives in the Flint-Beecher community, and 844 people suffered injuries. The Flint-Beecher Tornado was just one of 8 tornadoes that occurred in that horrible evening across the eastern portion of the Lower Peninsula. Those other seven tornadoes resulted in an additional 9 deaths, 52 injures, and damage stretching from Alpena to Erie.

5. Palm Sunday Tornado, 1965 (Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa)


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A series of tornadoes struck the Midwestern region of the US on April 11, 1965. A six-state area of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa was severely damaged by the tornados. Indiana’s death toll was the heaviest, with 141 of the 270 total deaths; at least 5,000 other persons were injured, and property damage was estimated at more than $250 million.

6. Super Outbreak, 1974 (148 tornadoes, in 13 U.S states plus the Canadian province of Ontario)


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The 1974 Super Outbreak was the second-largest tornado outbreak on record for a single 24-hour period, just behind the 2011 Super Outbreak. It was also the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded. In the United States, tornadoes struck Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York. The outbreak caused roughly $843 million (equivalent to $4.58 billion in 2019, with more than $600 million).

7. The Daulatpur-Saturnia Tornado, Bangladesh, 1989 (Deadliest single tornado in world history, took at least 1,300 lives)


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The tornado was estimated to have been 1.5km wide and it created a path of death and destruction along an 80km path. 1,300 people lost their lives, 12.000 were injured and 80,000 made homeless. The tornado was part of an outbreak that also saw another 5 people killed and 500 injured in the Narsingdi district, 40km east of Dhaka. This was the deadliest single tornado in history.

8. McConnell Air Force Base Tornado, Kansas, 1991


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On April 26, 1991, a large tornado outbreak struck the central United States. The outbreak produced an F5 tornado that heavily damaged the town of Andover, Kansas, as well as numerous less destructive tornadoes throughout the region. The outbreak killed 21 people, 17 of whom were from the Andover tornado with 268 mph (431 km/h) tornadic winds from the Red Rock tornado.

9. Super Tuesday Tornado, 2008 (Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas)


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The outbreak generated 87 tornadoes over 15 hours from the afternoon of February 5 until the early morning of February 6. The storm system produced several destructive tornadoes in heavily populated areas, most notably in the Memphis metropolitan area, in Jackson, Tennessee, and the northeastern end of the Nashville metropolitan area. This generated a 1.2billion dollar damage with 57 fatalities and 425 injuries.

10. Joplin Tornado, Missouri, 2011 (The most damaging tornado in history/ near $2.8 billion)


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At least 116 people died in a massive tornado that left a path of destruction nearly a mile wide through the heart of Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday. The cyclone destroyed hundreds of homes and vehicles, as well as a high school and a hospital. The tornado was just the latest in a string of deadly twisters that have killed hundreds of people in recent months, with Tuscaloosa, Ala., still recovering from one that also tore through the center of the city in late April.

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