National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Mobile Tornado-
Mobile County
March 24, 1840


Estimated Maximum Wind:
Several Injured/ At Least 1 Fatality
Damage Path Length:
4+ miles
Maximum Path Width:
200 yards
Approximate Start Point/Time:
Near Mobile/ 800 PM
Approximate End Point/Time:

The tornado affected Mobile. Homes were unroofed and prostrated, fences demolished, trees of considerable size were uplifted and thrown, and other trees were snapped off like reeds. There were several trees 3 to 4 feet in diameter that were twisted like the strands of a rope about five feet off the ground. It was like a mower's path. By measurement, the tornado was about 200 yards wide. The tornado path was approximately 10 degrees north of west and decreased in width through the city. The tornado intensity varied as some places were leveled while others had comparatively little damage.

The tornado hit Mr Page's saw mill removing part of the roof, leaving untouched the remainder of the building. Mr Page's well constructed dwelling was 20 by 45 and stood 4 feet off the ground on blocks. It was entirely demolished and Mrs Page was killed while her son and daughter were injured.

The tornado then did little damage over the next quarter of a mile or so before blasting a thickly studded forest area. The trees uprooted, snapped off and thrown some distance. The trees on either side of the path were lying at 30 degree angles toward the center of the path. The tops were thrown some distance down wind of the path.  

The tornado then struck a refectory attached to a nunnery, a frame building 52 by 31 feet and substancially built. The sides were scattered in every direction and the roof simply fell in. The Lady Superior and several sisters were injured as they sat down to eat dinner. The roof fell on the interior benches and otherwise provided a protective barrier from any more serious injuries or death. Some of the bricks were thrown over 120 feet.

The tornado then damaged the property of Mr Judson and Mr Williams.

The overall path was at least 4 miles long and was 200 yards wide at its widest point.

News Article Page 152, This article courtesy of the Google Digitization Project,  Journal of the Franklin Institute 1840, and Mr. S. B. North.