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NOAA/NWS 1925 Tri-State Tornado Web Site--Startling Statistics

On March 18, 1925, the Great Tri-State Tornado tore across Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, and Southwest Indiana. With its rapid movement, monstrous size, and long track, the tornado took hundreds of lives and injured thousands. By all means, the Tri-State Tornado was a rare event—an event that few people will ever experience in their lifetime. To give you some idea of this tornado’s magnitude, this section is devoted to a list of incredible statistics on the tornado.

  • 3 states affected (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana)

  • 13 counties affected, including:

Missouri: Reynolds, Iron, Madison, Bollinger, Perry

Illinois: Jackson, Williamson, Franklin, Hamilton, White

Indiana: Posey, Gibson, Pike

  • 19+ communities affected, including:

Missouri: Ellington, Redford, Leadanna, Annapolis, Cornwall, Biehle, Frohna

Illinois: Gorham, Murphysboro, De Soto, Hurst-Bush, Zeigler, West Frankfort, Eighteen, Parrish, Crossville

Indiana: Griffin, Owensville, Princeton

  • 219 mile path length

  • 3/4 mile average path width (some accounts of 1 mile wide—a record width)

  • 3 1/2 hours of continuous devastation

  • 1:01 p.m.—tornado touched down 3 miles NNW of Ellington, Missouri

  • 4:30 p.m.—tornado dissipated about 3 miles SW of Petersburg, Indiana

  • N 69° E heading maintained for 183 of the 219 miles

  • 62 mph average speed

  • 73 mph record speed between Gorham & Murphysboro

  • F5 tornado on the Fujita Scale, with winds perhaps in excess of 300 mph

  • 28.87" lowest pressure measured on a barograph trace at the Old Ben Coal Mine in West Frankfort, Illinois

  • 695 deaths—a record for a single tornado

  • 234 deaths in Murphysboro—a record for a single community from such a disaster

  • 33 deaths at the De Soto school—a record for such a storm (only bombings and gas explosions have taken higher school tolls)

  • 2,027 injuries

  • 15,000 homes destroyed



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