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Tri-State Tornado

The Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 was the deadliest tornado in United States history. More people would die, more schools would be destroyed, more farmers and students would be killed, and the most deaths would occur in one U.S. city from a tornado in history.

The storm kept the same heading, NE 63 degrees for 183 of the 219-mile path. The tornado traveled at an average speed of 62 mph. Records would be set for speed, path length, and other records that probably couldn't be determined that far back in the past.

The storm began in Ellington, Reynolds County, Missouri at 1:01 P.M., then killed a farmer. The tornado may have been a double tornado or accompanied by downbursts as it moved into Annapolis and Leadanna. Two people were killed, 75 were injured and damage totaled more than $500,000 in both towns.

Double tornadoes were sighted near Biehle. After the tornado passed The Ozarks and into Illinois, the storm was at its worst. In Gorham, 34 were killed as nearly 100% of the town was destroyed. Between Gorham and Murphysboro, the fastest ground speed record was broken as the tornado raked across the ground at 73 mph!

The tornado arrived at Murphysboro, Illinois at 2:34 P.M. The tornado passed through quickly and killed a staggering 234 people, breaking yet another record, the most deaths in one U.S. city from a tornado. Damage in Murphysboro exceeded $10 million. Sixty-nine were killed near Desoto, thirty-three at the school was the worst in U.S. history. Another 127 were killed in Hamilton and White counties in Illinois.

Seventy-one were killed in Indiana. Griffin and Owensville were devestated. The tornado finally dissipated 10 miles northeast of Princeton.

The Tri-State Tornado was also a part of a tornado outbreak which included eight tornadoes that killed a total of 747 people, making it, to date, the deadliest tornado outbreak on record.