10 Most Devastating Tornadoes In US History

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NWS Huntsville, AL, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

6. 1974 – The 1974 Super Outbreak

The 1974 Super Outbreak would go down in American history as a real record-breaker. It was the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded, with 30 F4/F5 tornadoes confirmed. It was the second-largest tornado outbreak on record for a single 24-hour period and the first tornado outbreak in recorded history to produce more than 100 tornadoes in that short time period.

Between April 3 to 4, 1974, 148 tornadoes had been confirmed as they cut a path of destruction across 13 states and even into the Canadian province of Ontario. The outbreak damaged approximately 900 sq mi (2,331 km2) along a total combined path length of 2,600 mi (4,184 km). It ran up a destruction bill of around $843 million, which would be about $4.58 billion in today’s money. It would injure 5,484 people and kill 319. So severe was this event that at one point, a staggering 15 tornadoes made landfall at the same time.

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