Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Wichita, KS

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NOUS43 KICT 031910
PNSICT

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Wichita KS
210 PM CDT Wed Apr 3 2019

...Today Marks The 45th Anniversary Of The 1974 Super Outbreak...

It was 45 years ago today, April 3rd, 1974, when at that time, the
worst tornado outbreak in history occurred. Called the "Super
Outbreak", this historic event involved 148 tornadoes that invaded
11 states from Southern Michigan to Alabama and Georgia. In all, 319
were killed, 6,142 were injured, with an estimated $600 million
damage. (In 2019, this would equate to $3.263 Billion.) The outbreak
actually continued until the morning of April 4th, but about 95% of
the tornadoes struck on the 3rd.

Many of the tornadoes were appalling. Of the 148 tornadoes, 7 were
were rated F5 (rotational velocities from 261-318 mph, 23 were F4
(rotational velocities from 207-260 mph) and 35 were F3 (158-206
mph). These accounted for nearly 45% of the tornadoes that occurred
during this outbreak.

The most publicized was the F5 event that destroyed about half of
Xenia, Ohio. The deadliest of the outbreak, this violent tornado
killed 34, injured 1,150, and caused around $100 million damage. As
costly as this tornado was in all respects, it could have been much
worse as the twister missed Xenia`s Greene Memorial Hospital by only
1 mile. The track was 32 miles long and averaged 500 yards wide.

A 2nd F5 tornado nearly obliterated Brandenburg, Kentucky. The track
was 34 miles long and reached 1/2 mile wide. The tornado killed 31,
(18 on one block) injured 270, and caused around $10 million damage.
The tornado`s power was stupefying as nearly all of the town was
devastated. Buildings were leveled, many homes literally vanished,
and gravestones were overturned. In one home that vanished, most of
the carpeting was sucked off the foundation floor!

Alabama proved once again that it can be just as prone to extremely
violent tornadoes as Kansas or Oklahoma as three of the seven F5s
that occurred struck the state later that evening. Two of the F5s
struck Tanner, located in extreme North-Central Alabama, just 30
minutes apart! Most of the homes vanished not only in Tanner, but in
many nearby towns. In Tanner, the few buildings that survived the
first F5 were leveled by or vanished during the 2nd. Tanner was also
hit by an EF5 tornado during the historic April 25-28, 2011 Outbreak.

The 3rd F5 that attacked Alabama was likely the most violent of the
outbreak and perhaps to ever hit the state. The vicious vortex had a
track 102 miles long, averaged 1/2 mile wide, killed 30, and injured
280. Guin, Alabama was hit so hard that one 6-block area was swept
clean of all structures. In Guin, 23 were killed. (Guin would also
be devastated during the historic late April, 2011 outbreak.) The
speed of the vortex was 75 mph; the posted speed limit of the Kansas
Turnpike. This proves, emphatically, why it is dangerous to get into
a vehicle to escape a tornado.

Though outnumbered by the April 25-28, 2011 outbreak by a 358-148
margin, the "Super Outbreak" of April 3-4, 1974 should be considered
the more violent as 30 tornadoes were rated F4 or F5, whereas during
the April, 2011 Outbreak, 15 were rated EF4 or EF5.

When the topic of F5/EF5 tornadoes is brought up, Alabama must be
included in the discussion as it ranks right up there with Oklahoma
and Kansas.

Now that spring has arrived, you are strongly encouraged to monitor
forecasts closely when thunderstorms are forecast. Thunderstorms can
quickly achieve severity, producing not only hail of at least 1 inch
diameter and winds of at least 60 mph, but also tornadoes and flash
floods.

$$

ES


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