1974 Tornado Outbreak By Sabrina Pierce


  • April 3-4 1974
  • 148 Tornadoes Were Documented
  • 95- Rated F2 Or Higher
  • 30- Rated F4 Or F5
  • 335 Deaths
  • 6,000 Injured
  • Paths Were 2,500 Miles
Fujita Scale That Compares 1974 and 2011

13 states were hit

  1. Alabama (got the most F5 tornadoes) (worst storm activity)
  2. Georgia (worst storm activity)
  3. Illinois
  4. Indiana (worst storm activity)
  5. Kentucky (worst storm activity)
  6. Michigan
  7. Mississippi
  8. North Carolina
  9. New York
  10. Ohio (worst storm activity)
  11. Tennessee (got 37 tornadoes- the highest amount) (worst storm activity)
  12. West Virginia
  13. Virginia

Storm watches and warnings

8:27 A.M. in Ohio Valley got the first severe thunderstorm watch on April 3rd. Between 8:27 A.M. on April 3rd and 3:00 A.M. on April 4th, there were twenty eight severe thunderstorm watches from the Gulf of Mexico to Canadian border and the Mississippi River to the east coast. On April 3rd, there were 150 tornado warnings by 2:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. across all 13 states that were hit.

Personal Expirences

Jeff Rowley lived in New Albany, Indiana when the tornadoes occurred. He was ten years old, and his father took him around to see some of the damage that had happened. Jeff said that the trees were laying in one direction, houses were knocked down,and it was one big mess. He then said that he will never look at storms the same way because he was terrified as a young boy.

David Hagan lived in Madison County, Kentucky. He heard about a family on the news that tried to escape the storm. The family opened the car door, but the storm got them before they made it. Both of the parents died. The daughter suffered from brain damage, but she died a year later. David said that a school in Richmond was destroyed, and there were newspapers all the way from Ohio!

This is a man in the tornado damage.

Other tornado outbreaks

March 18, 1925- 7 Tornadoes, 437 Miles, 746 Deaths

April 11, 1965- 31 Tornadoes, 853 Miles, 256 Deaths

1973- 1,100 Tornadoes (World Record)

2011- 358 Tornadoes

This is just in Indiana.

American Red Cross Findings

  • Most deaths were from heart attacks instead of storm attacks
  • Some of the damage was from straight line wind and hail damage instead of tornadoes.

The Government's Response

President Nixon toured Xenia, Ohio, and he said, "The Most Devastating Disaster I Have Ever Seen." 32 were killed, and thousands were left homeless. He wanted to do anything possible to fix the town. He cut the red tape to accelerate housing, schools, and jobs. The government decided to increase communication, warning systems, preparedness during emergencies, and forecast techniques. It also improved lead time for warnings, accurate forecasts for events, public awareness, and trustworthy communications.

This is President Nixon arriving to tour Ohio.

The aftermath

Doppler Radar that was used during the cold war to detect Soviet missile is now used to scan the county for bad weather. It cost $600 million dollars to made 170 doppler radars. There is an 80% success rate for predicting tornadoes.

Don Burgess, a severe storms laboratory veteran, said, “It has dramatically changed the warning times for tornadoes. In the ‘70s the lead time was about zero. Now the average lead time is 12 to 14 minutes. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you need to take shelter every minute counts.”

People have been studying this event for over forty years.


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