Officials gather to remember and discuss the deadliest single tornado in U.S. history.
It was 85 years ago Thursday that the deadliest single tornado in U.S. history spun a path of death and destruction across parts of Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana. To this day, the Tri-State Tornado continues to hold records for the most fatalities from a single tornado, the most fatalities in a single community (Murphysboro), the longest continuous path (both in terms of length and time on the ground), the fastest forward speed (73 mph between Gorham and Murphysboro), and the widest path width of up to a mile wide. On Thursday, local residents, emergency managers, officials, and scientists gathered to commemorate this historic storm at a severe weather workshop at John A. Logan College in Carterville, IL. At the meeting, author Peter Felknor ("The Tri-State Tornado"), shared first-hand accounts of the storm from survivors he has spoken with over a number of years, and Murphysboro native and current NWS Tulsa Meteorologist-in-Charge Steve Piltz shared research that he and a number of meterorologists have been conducting to determine new information about the Tri-State Tornado. Since no tornado has come close to reaching the limits set by the Tri-State Tornado, some scientists have questioned whether this was truly one record-setting tornado, or if it was a family of tornadoes that was produced by a long-lived supercell thunderstorm that underwent several tornadic cycles. After looking at newspaper accounts of damage reports, visiting with survivors and close relatives of deceased tornado survivors, and searching back through historical documents and weather reports, the team of researchers are still convinced that this storm deserves its own place in the history books as a record-setting, extremely rare and violent tornado.
For more information on the Tri-State Tornado, click here.