This Tornado was one of many that struck during the Red River Valley Tornado
outbreak of the 10th April 1979…
will be producing a separate article on this outbreak in due course. You can
find more out on the Wichita Falls, Texas (TX) storm itself here.
F4/EF-4 Tornado that struck Wichita Falls, TX formed several miles southwest of
the city in Archer County, travelling over mostly open land.
the Tornado turned east-northeast, it entered Wichita County – damaging a
handful of rural homes, string of high voltage towers.
into the city of Wichita Falls, the Tornado first struck Memorial Stadium and
McNiel Junior High School, severely damaging both buildings (#1 on the damage
path diagram below).
The Tornado’s formation and its movement towards the stadium and high school was captured on camera by Wolfgang Lange from the front of his apartment complex (#2 on the damage path diagram) – see in the photos below.
capturing the last photo of the Tornado, Lange retreated to the complex’s
laundry room and hid between heavy commercial washers and dryers. Luckily, he only
suffered minor injuries.
Northeast of Lange’s apartment complex, on the first street of houses, a man by the name of Robert Molet also captured the Tornado on camera as it approached (#3 on the damage path diagram) – see in the photos below.
Lange’s view, as you can see in the above photos, Molet did not have an unhindered
view of the Tornado – did not immediately recognise the F4/EF-4 wedge.
stood in his backyard driveway and captured the destruction of the above
mentioned apartment complex and the beginning of his neighbourhood being destroyed.
carried on taking photos until the wind blew him into his garage. Although, his
house was completely destroyed, Molet escaped with only minor injuries –
protecting him from the worst of the winds and debris.
first deaths caused by Tornado were recorded at the already mentioned apartment
complex and adjoining housing area.
east-northeast, the Tornado severely damaged commercial buildings along
Southwest Parkway, including total devastation of the Southwest National Bank Building
except its vault (#4 on the damage path diagram).
of Southwest Parkway, the F4/EF-4 wedge destroyed many homes in the Western Hills
(DR). Further eastward, many houses in the Faith Village were destroyed, Ben
Milam Elementary School was severely damaged (#6 on the damage path diagram).
The Tornado was captured on camera from the south of the city by Pat Blacklock – see in the photos below (#5 on the damage path diagram).
As you can see in the last few photos above,
the gust front/strong west winds to the south of the Tornado can be seen
producing waves on Lake Wichita – kicking up spray from the lake.
As the F4/EF-4 wedge crossed Kemp Boulevard, a number of commercial business were destroyed – resulting in several deaths. The Tornado’s most destructive winds missed the Sikes Senter Shopping Mall to the south, but a handful of stores were damaged.
the above mentioned shopping mall, the Tornado crossed a greenbelt area, “skirted”
Midwestern State University on the south side – severely damaging more housing
From the Ligon Coliseum of the University, Professor Joe Henderson captured the Tornado on camera (#7 on the damage path diagram) – see in the photos below.
The F4/EF-4 wedge was also captured on camera by Troy Glover from the roof of the Bethania hospital (#8 on the damage path diagram) – see in the photo below.
number of people tried to outrun the Tornado as it crossed the south side of
the city by getting in vehicles and driving east of Southwest Parkway – north on
US Highway 281 and east on US Highway 287.
Tornado blew many of those vehicles off the above mentioned highways, resulting
in numerous deaths.
F4/EF-4 wedge took the lives of forty two people in Wichita Falls, twenty five
deaths were vehicle related and sixteen of the twenty five deaths got in vehicles
to outrun the Tornado.
leaving the east side of the city, the Tornado destroyed the Sun Valley housing
area, the Sunnyside Heights Mobile Home Park and several large commercial
businesses including the Levi Strauss Plant – iconic jean maker.
of Wichita Falls, the Tornado trekked into Clay County. Not only did it enter a
different county, it changed its appearance.
As seen in the photos below, captured by Winston Wells, the Tornado became multivortex (#10 on the damage path diagram). At one time, the F4/EF-4 wedge displayed as many as five satellite vortices.
this stage of its life, the Tornado did extensive damage just south of Dean and
near Byars, destroying a significant number of rural homes, but thankfully
causing no deaths.
The grief and devastation caused by this Tornado is almost unthinkable
particular type of Tornado event is unheard of! A violent Tornado tearing
through an eight mile section of a city.
addition to the forty two deaths caused directly by the F4/EF-4 wedge, three
more people died of heart attacks/illnesses during the stress of the Tornado’s
life. The number of reported injuries approached almost eighteen hundred
however additional injuries were never recorded.
In 1979 dollars, total property damage
in the city was estimated at four hundred million.
three thousand homes were destroyed and another were damaged. One thousand
apartment units/condominiums were destroyed and another one hundred and thirty
Around one hundred and forty mobile homes were destroyed, two schools were obliterated and eleven others suffered significant damage. Over one hundred commercial businesses were destroyed, some of which were large businesses/manufacturing – including Levi.
That concludes our in-depth overview of the Tornado. Now, relive the Tornado in videos below.
The April 2011 super Tornado outbreak was one of the biggest, deadliest and most destructive severe weather and Tornado outbreaks in the U.S. Suffice to say some of a handful of the Tornadoes that touched down during the outbreak struck heavily populated areas.
Regardless of alerts well in
advance and short term warnings, the Tornadoes/storms killed three hundred and
twenty one people and injured almost three thousand people, according to National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA – Storm prediction Center – SPC).
Nearly three hundred and fifty
Tornadoes touched down in around of the south, Midwest and northeast states of
the U.S. A majority of the Tornadoes that touched down during the April 2011 super
outbreak happened on the 27th April, according to the National
The most destructive Tornado, a multiple-vortex EF-4 Tornado, which took the lives of sixty five people and injured more than one thousand people alone swept through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama during the afternoon/evening on the 27th April.
Suffice to say, within a
matter of minutes, ten per cent of Tuscaloosa was destroyed and more than one
thousand six hundred people were left homeless – including the students of
University of Alabama. It has to be said, the above mentioned Tornado was one
point five miles wide with winds of one hundred and ninety miles per hour.
The Tornado was on the ground for more than eighty miles.
It has to be stated: The same
supercell thunderstorm that produced the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham Tornado went
onto to spawn other Tornadoes that “skipped” along a three hundred and eighty
mile long path from Mississippi to North Carolina.
Three EF-5 Tornadoes, twelve EF-4
Tornadoes and twenty one EF-3 Tornadoes struck during the April 2011 super
Tornado outbreak. Some of the violent storms coincided areas that were hit with
severe weather and Tornadoes earlier in the month. April 2011 was a busy month!
A destructive and deadly
Tornado outbreak took place on the 14th – 16th April,
when one hundred and seventy eight Tornadoes touched down and resulted in the
deaths of almost fourty people across parts of the Plains, south and eastern
In closing, April 2011 saw a
record seven hundred and fifty Tornadoes strike the U.S, according to the SPC –
records go back to 1950.
We didn’t particularly want to make this a wordy article, however we wanted to give this significant outbreak a well-balanced and detailed introduction. Now you’ve read about it, now relive the April 2011 super outbreak thru the lens of a camera in the videos below.
Find an extensive video playlist of the Hackleburg/Phil Campbell EF5 Tornado below.
Furthermore, TV coverage and documentaries in regards to this outbreak can be found below.
UPDATE: A reader brought it to our attention that Smithville, Mississippi was struck by an EF-5 Tornado on the 27th April 2011 – watch two videos of the Tornado below.
According to the National Weather Service storm (damage) survey team, preliminary (prelim) results indicate at least an EF-3 Tornado swept through Ruston, Louisiana (LA) the early hours of Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
Going by the
Enhanced Fujita Scale, the Ruston Tornado had winds of at least one hundred and
thirty five miles per hour or great. The NWS Shreveport branch will release
their complete storm report later this evening.
That report will include exact strength and track of the above mentioned Tornadoes.
A mother and her son was killed by this Tornado. Our thoughts, prayers and love go to the family at this time.
Jarrell, Texas Tornado was one of a number that struck on the 27th
May 1997 – an article on the other Tornadoes will be produced in due course.
At approximately 3:45pm (CDT) on the 27th May 1997, a violent F5 Tornado struck portions of Jarrell, Texas. The Tornado took the lives of twenty seven people and causing devastating damage – blowing houses completely off the foundations…
… Not to mention it swept away
the disintegrated remains.
also scoured asphalt from roads, killed and dismembered hundreds of cattle. It
also stripped/uprooted them and bounced vehicles for up to half a mile from
their parking places.
more in-depth look at the Jarrell, Texas Tornado, we highly suggest you read
stormstalker’s article on the F5 – click hereto
With that being said, relive the 27th May 1997 F5 Jarrell, Texas Tornado in the videos below.
The head of The Tornado Project has been very busy indeed. Bravo on your work good sir!
On the 22nd March, meteorologist Thomas Grazulis posted four rather interesting graphs relating to data regarding March Tornadoes from 1875 – 2019 on his Twitter account.
With quotes from Grazulis relating to them, find the four graphs he produced below – please note find original tweets at the bottom of the article.
Tornado deaths in March outbreaks – 1875 – 2019
“Death totals are down since the 1950, especially this day in 1952. Reason – fewer violent tornadoes? Fewer major outbreaks? Forecasting and warnings? Pacific Ocean patterns? Problem understanding many variables.”
Very significant [Tornado] outbreaks in March – 1875 – 2019
“The number of “very significant” outbreaks has not changed much. Definition that gives clearest picture across 150 years: at least two F3-5 tornadoes, and 50+ miles of upper EF2 to F5 path miles. Subjective? oh yes, but the best I can come up with.”
Path length in March [Tornado] outbreaks – 1875 – 2019
“Recent “very significant” total path miles are a little less, but maybe they just are not as violent. No way of telling! There have been quiet periods in the past. Current low number of March events is not unique. Last big one was in 2012.”
Killer Tornadoes in March “outbreaks” – 1875 – 2019
“The number of killer tornadoes in outbreaks has become very variable, as have deaths. Bad luck play a big part now, as it did this year. Below are all 69 March outbreaks. There have been about 630 “outbreaks” for all months since documentation started in 1873″
Grazulis also produced a table – on Twitter (CLEVER!) – regarding to killer Tornadoes since March 1873. Find his table in the tweets below..
… This was the perfect opportunity to link Grazulis’ Twitter account somewhere in this article. The head of The Tornado Project closed his tweets out with the following tweet.
We wrote about one of the Tornadoes that struck during this outbreak yesterday – find article here.
thunderstorms developed along/ahead of a dryline across central Oklahoma
during the afternoon on the 9th May 2016.
thunderstorms swept across central and eastern Oklahoma during the evening
hours. Before the storms moved into the area, the atmosphere ahead of the
dryline in central and eastern Oklahoma had become very unstable.
above mentioned instability, combined with extremely strong wind shear – associated
with a strong trough of low pressure that moved into the southern Plains from
the southern Rockies – led to the development of supercell thunderstorms.
handful of these supercell thunderstorms produced a number of Tornadoes. It’s
safe to suggest some of these Tornadoes were damaging and long-lived Tornadoes –
two of which were killer.
of the Tornadoes that struck was the Katie, Oklahoma Tornado – which killed one
person and was rated EF-4. Another Tornado that happened in Johnston and Coal
counties also killed one person and was rated EF-3.
of the supercell thunderstorms mentioned above produced multiple Tornadoes as
it tracked along and near an outflow boundary which earlier produced morning
thunderstorms tied with a previous system.
boundary had settled across southwestern Oklahoma by the afternoon. The most noteworthy
Tornado associated with this thunderstorm was the EF-3 Tornado which happened
near the towns of Bennington and Boswell.
With that being said, relive the outbreak of Tornadoes in the videos below.
Recent forecast models have suggested the possibility of severe weather from Friday through Monday from the central/south Plains to the Ohio valley, Tennessee valley and Dixie Alley, as reported by Zach Walters.
Walters said with it being too far off to make any projections, he will not report on those until Tuesday/Wednesday.
However, he did say when looking at the instability models and other elements there could be a handful of significant supercells across the southern Plains on Saturday. This means one or two Tornadoes could be produced.
We will have more on this potential
severe weather threat when it comes to light.
A study conducted – back in 2018 – found that over the past fourty years, Tornado frequency has increased over a “large swath” of the midwest and southeast and decreased in elements of the central and southern Great Plains – region traditionally associated with Tornado Alley.
The study, conducted by Northern Illinois University’s meteorology professor Victor Gensini and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory’s Harold Brooks found significant decreasing trends in frequencies of both Tornado reports and Tornado environments over elements of Texas, Oklahoma and northeast Colorado.
Tornado Alley suffice to say is the top zone for Tornadoes in the United States, however other including the “so-called” Dixie Alley which includes much of the lower Mississippi Valley region are catching up. The researchers identified substantial increasing trends of Tornado reports and Tornado environments in portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.
“Regions in the southeast and midwest are closing the gap when it comes to the number of Tornado reports. It’s not that Texas and Oklahoma do not get Tornadoes, they’re sstill the number one location in terms of Tornado frequency. But the trend in many locations is down over the past 40 years”
Victor Gensini, Northern Illinois University’s meteorology professor
stated that the study also looked at the frequency of Tornadoes in fine-scale
using two individual approaches. The researchers tracked the number of Tornado
reports from 1979 to 2017, whilst investigation regional trends in the daily
frequency of Tornado-environment formation over the same period – 1979 to 2017 –
using an index known as the Significant Tornado Parameter (STP).
used in order to predict severe weather, the index captures the coexistence of
atmospheric elements favourable for producing Tornadoes. Both the number of actual
Tornado reports and the historical STP analysis showed the eastward uptick in
trend is significant for understanding the potential for future Tornado
exposure, damage and casualties. Severe thunderstorms accompanied by Tornadoes,
hail and damaging winds cause an average of five point four billion dollars
each year across the U.S, events with with ten billion or more in damages are
no longer uncommon. Suffice to say we say that with the AL, GA Tornado outbreak
this past Sunday.
research has identified the southeast as particularly vulnerable to Tornadoes.
Simply because of factors such as longer and larger Tornado paths, expanding
population, density, mobile home density and higher night time Tornado
probabilities, most Tornado deaths occur in southeast – mid-south region. There’s
a theme developing here, you can attach this particular theory to the AL, GA
researchers cannot say for certain whether the eastward shift in Tornado
reports and environments might be caused by natural or human-induced climate
change. We have the opinion that it will be more natural. We found this study
fascinating, even a year after it was published. You can read it in full here.
We can’t forget to mention May 4th
– Kansas, northern Texas (aka the Great Plains Tornado Outbreak of the 3rd
– 4th May 1999).
On the 3rd
May 1999, a number of supercell thunderstorms produced a significant amount of
large and damaging Tornadoes in Oklahoma during the late afternoon/evening.
It is safe to say without doubt, some of these Tornadoes were killers, including the ones that through (and/or near) Dover, Shawnee, Perry, and Bridge Creek. Not forgetting Moore and the metropolitan areas.
Moore is plays a pivotal part in this outbreak as the strongest wind speed from that particular Tornado was recorded. You can find out more on that here.
Also we have to
add, a number of Tornadoes struck areas in south central Kansas, eastern
Oklahoma and northern Texas – over seventy Tornadoes were observed across the
region, some did happen during the morning/early afternoon hours of the 4th
question, the total number of Tornadoes in Oklahoma makes the 3rd– 4th
May 1999 Tornado outbreak the biggest ever recorded in the area. Forty people
in Oklahoma were killed by the Tornadoes on the 3rd – 4th
Six hundred and
seventy five people were injured, a number of homes and businesses were destroyed
or damaged throughout the areas affected by the Tornadoes. Five people died,
one hundred people were injured and significant damage was reported from the Kansas
There isn’t much to see in the video, however the audio tells the story. Captured in the video is the sound of a Tornado – watch/listen in the video below.
We’re going to turn it over to Season of
the Storm’s Adam Lucio to explain the video.
“Here is chilling video from our previous post, shot by Adam two years ago today. If you can listen past the wind noise in the camera, you will hear what sounds like a waterfall wooshing sound.
That is actually a violent, EF-4 tornado approaching them in the distance. Storm chasing at night can be especially dangerous. It is one thing to be able to see the tornado and gauge its movement, it’s another to only hear it.
Adam, along with fellow storm chaser Stephen Jones, begin to second guess their position and have to make a quick decision to bail or stand their ground. There isn’t much to see in the video, but the audio tells the story!”
In case you’re wondering, Season of the Storm is a new documentary series that brings the real life of storm chasing to the screen.
You can find out more on the documentary by clicking here. Like on Facebook here!