Tri-State Tornado of 1925
The deadliest tornado occurred across three different states, but it began right here in Missouri.
The tornado developed during an afternoon thunderstorm near Ellington in southeast Missouri on March 18, 1925.
From there the tornado raced to the northeast at a record setting speed of 73 mph. Before it crossed the Mississippi River, eleven Missourians had died.
The devastation in Illinois was far worse. At Murphysboro, in Jackson County, the largest death toll within a single city was yet another record set by this twister.
There were 234 deaths and more than $10 million in damages.
As it moved into Indiana, multiple funnels were occasionally visible, as the .75 mile wide path of destruction continued with a fury unmatched by previous storms
Moving on into Indiana, half of the town of Princeton was destroyed before it finally dissipated about 10 miles northeast of this Indiana town.
With such a great forward speed, and appearing as a boiling mass of clouds rolling along, rather than a widely visible funnel, the tornado gave people little time to react.
During it's 3.5 hour lifespan, this devastating force averaged .25 mile in width and traveled 219 miles across the three states.
This historic F5 tornado holds the record for the deadliest tornado ever, killing 695 people and injuring more than 2,000.
Needless to say, the great tri-state tornado left a legacy that is evidenced by ghost towns, lost ancestors and more than $16.5 million in damage
Fast Facts on Tornadoes in Missouri
Thankfully Missouri hasn't experienced another horrific tornado like the tri-state tornado, but we definitely have powerful twisters.
- On average, Missouri is hit by 28 tornadoes a year.
- The most we have ever seen in a single year was in 2003, with 84 tornadoes recorded.
- Since 1950, 1,581 tornadoes have been recorded statewide causing 186 fatalities.
Some of the largest and most destructive twisters occurred right here in mid-Missouri.
On June 5, 1917 a tornado formed 5 miles southwest of Clark Ford, and moved northeast across Cooper County, killing four people south of Overton, near Gooch Mill.
The tornado then crossed the Missouri River into Boone County.
After barreling through 6 Boone County towns, the F4 fury finally let up, but not before taking 20 lives and covering 42 miles of country-land.
A late April F4 tornado in 1975 killed 1 person and injured 4 others as it tore through Macon county.
The tornado touched down 6 miles southwest of Callao and moved to the east destroying 15 homes. A steel bridge was also destroyed.
Although not all mid-Missouri tornadoes have been this significant, we have still seen 295 of these fierce forces since 1950.
Boone and Callaway counties have had the most at 32 and 26 respectively, while some counties have only seen 5, such as Gasconade and Randolph.
Compare those numbers to Caddo County in Oklahoma where there have been 94 tornadoes since 1950.