89th Anniversary of the Great Tri-State Tornado

Stan Changnon, Illinois State Water Survey, click to enlarge
At about this moment, 1pm CST 89-years ago, the Great Tri-State Tornado was touching down in southeast Missouri. There were no tornado watches or warnings of any kind in 1925. With a forward speed of about 70 mph (interstate highway speeds), the people in its path were sitting ducks. Three and a half hours later, 698 people had lost their lives and whole towns were wiped off the map.

It is the deadliest documented tornado in U.S. history.

It is ironic that Liz Queotone (see below) would pass away today. She is one of the scientists that helped build that storm warning system that would save so very many lives in later decades. If a storm like were to occur today, the death toll would be a fraction of the 689 killed even with a greater population.

If you would like to learn more about the nation's worst tornado disaster, go here.


  1. What a tragic event. Thanks for helping us stay safe Mike!

    Do you know of anyone who has ever done an analysis of the current population in the path of the storm? It's still rural, but Murphysboro and West Frankfort are both around 8000 now.

  2. There are several studies of the tornado but I do not know if there is one focusing on population.

  3. This year will be 40 yrs for the Xenia tornado as well


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