Anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado, 1925

March 19, 2001


Provided by: NOAA
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek

On March 18, 1925, the Great Tri-State Tornado tore across Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana. Shortly after 1 pm the tornado touched down near Ellington, Missouri and for the next 3 1/2 hours tore a continuous path of destruction a mile wide and 219 miles long before dissipating near Petersburg, Indiana. 695 people were killed, thousands injured and 15,000 homes were destroyed by this record breaking monster. The town of Murphysboro, IL was hardest hit with 234 deaths. This photo is of an engineering committee examining a 1X5 inch board which was driven through a 2X6 plank in southern Illinois. The Tri-State Tornado measured F5 on the Fujita scale, with winds perhaps in excess of 300 mph. Technological advancements, improved communications, and dedicated scientific research make such a disaster much less likely today - but not impossible, especially if the tornado were to strike a highly populated area.

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