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The Super Outbreak

The Super Outbreak was the biggest tornado outbreak on record. 148 tornadoes hit in 13 states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York. One tornado even hit in Ontario,Canada. It was the only one to hit outside the United States.

This outbreak also broke the record for most F5 and F4 tornadoes. There were six F5 tornadoes and thirty F4 tornadoes. The outbreak began in Morris, Illinois at around 1 P.M. on April 3, 1974. As the storm system moved east where it had been sunny all day, the tornadoes became more severe. A tornado that hit near Monticello, Indiana was a F4 and had a path length of 121 miles. Nineteen people were killed in this tornado. The first F5 tornado of the day hit in Xenia, Ohio. It killed 33 and injured 1,150. Xenia was hit again by another tornado on September 20, 2000.

Five more F5's would go on to hit--one in Indiana, one more in Ohio, one in Kentucky, and two in Alabama. Twenty-eight were killed in Brandenburg, Kentucky and 30 were killed in Guin, Alabama. The lowest number killed by an F5 tornado in this outbreak was 6 in Depauw, Indiana. During the peak of the outbreak, a staggering fifteen tornadoes were on the ground simultaneously.

There was record 23 hours of continuous tornado activity. The final tornado of the day hit in Baton, North Carolina at around 2 A.M. on April 4,1974. A total of 315 people were killed and more than 5,000 were injured.