Tornadoes in the Past



On this page, we primarily focus on just 1996. If you want to read descriptions of the killer tornadoes of 1995 and 1896, you will find them here.



1996
The format of descriptions below list the date, time of day, and Fujita Scale Intensity Rating

US Killer Tornadoes in 1996

January 26, 1996 4:27 PM F1
A tornado touched down on a hill near US 45 at Gulf Crest, Mobile County, Alabama. Three people were injured as two mobile homes were overturned. One of them died in a hospital a week later.
You can see a radar image of the US here.

March 6, 1996 4:01 AM F3
Just after 4:00 AM, a tornado touched down 9 miles west of Selma, Alabama, at Marion Junction, and moved east-northeast on a path at least 10 miles long. A trailer park was hit 5 miles north of Selma, killing four people.

March 6, 1996 4:01 AM F4
An hour and fifteen minutes later, at 5:15 AM, another tornado dipped out of the early morning skies just east of Montgomery, Alabama, destroying more trailer homes and killing two people.

April 14, 1996 F4
At 6:36 PM, an intense tornado touched down in the Ozark Mountains of Stone County, along the White River near Allison, Arkansas. It devastated a popular fishing campground, killing five vacationers. All deaths were in RVs(recreational vehicles) along the banks of the river.
Just six minutes later, another tornado touched down in neighboring Izard County, destroying 11 homes and killing two people in two separate mobile homes near Sylamore.
A comprehensive report of this tornado can be found at this site.

April 19, 1996
The period April 19 to April 21 produced an almost continuous outbreak of tornadoes from Arkansas, through Illinois, and into southern Canada. Preliminary reports indicated that there were more than forty tornadoes in Illinois alone...almost two average year's worth. Four of them were killers.

April 19th, 1996 F3
Almost every one of the 150 homes in Ogden, Illinois were damaged or destroyed by the tornado that struck at 7:00 PM on this date. Seventeen people were injured, but there were no deaths in the residential area. On highway I-74, a tractor-trailer truck was picked up and thrown from the road. The driver was seriously injured. The passenger, his wife, was killed when she was thrown from the cab and the truck rolled into a ditch.

At about the same time, on the other side of the world, 6 people died and another 164 were injured in a tornado that swept through Maoming, in Guangdong Province, China.

April 20, 1996
At 7:30 AM, a small tornado touched down 5 miles south of Carrollton, Mississippi. A teenager was killed when a tree fell on his mobile home and crushed it.

April 21, 1996
A tornado touched down in the historic district of downtown Forth Smith, Arkansas, at 10:20 PM. It sliced through multi-story office and storage buildings, ripping them apart. A two-year-old and a five-year-old boy were killed in separate houses, six blocks apart in a residential area northeast of downtown. At least 50 people were taken to hospitals. The Red Cross reported that 35 homes and 78 businesses were destroyed, with 636 homes and 217 businesses damaged.
At 11:15 PM, another tornado hit 50 miles to the east at St. Paul, Arkansas, "completely disintegrating a home." Inside the building, a man and his 10-year-old son were apparently killed instantly. The man's wife was critically injured, but survived to tell the story.

May 12, 1996 7:12 PM F0
At Okeechobee, Florida. One person was killed.

November 8, 1996 4:35 AM F2
One person was killed in a trailer home 2 miles southwest of Chester, Georgia.

November 30, 1996 2:20 PM
At Simsboro, Louisiana. Six homes were destroyed, and 40 more were damaged. Two men were killed in a parked pick-up truck when an "ancient" 5-foot-thick oak tree toppled and crushed the vehicle. A third man, sitting between them, survived with only minor injuries.

December 7, 1996 1:00 PM F2
A fifty-year-old man was killed when a tornado ripped across a trailer park in Riverview, east of St. Petersburg, Florida. Ten mobile homes were destroyed.

Other Tornadoes in 1996

January 26, 1996
Of the hundreds of tornadoes that have touched down this year, one of the first was at Chataignier, in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. The 11:00 AM storm caught 5 rabbit hunters by surprise. They had just started the hunt when a "huge dark funnel cloud" touched down right in front of them in a field. They ran to an abandoned house, which was immediately blown apart. The men were scattered 15 to 40 yards from the empty foundation. This outbreak also produced one of the most destructive tornadoes of the year, and the first tornado video of 1996. That event was 10 miles south of Shreveport, where a retirement home suffered a $1,000,000 damage and 30 of the elderly residents were injured by flying glass. This and many other videos from 1996 will appear on Tornado Video Classics IV, available in the fall of 1998.

Here are damage photographs, taken from the air, of the Oakfield tornado track.

And here are photos of the actual Oakfield tornado, from its very beginning, taken by storm chaser Cailyn Lloyd.


Accounts of recent tornadoes that have been sent to us by our readers.



Killer Tornadoes Elsewhere in the World


The tornado disaster in Bangladesh has renewed our interest in documenting tornadic events elsewhere in the world. If you know of a tornado that has taken place recently, we invite you to email us and let us know.

April 19, 1996
At about the same time as the Ogden, Illinois tornado was taking place, 6 people died and another 164 were injured in a tornado that swept through Maoming, in Guangdong Province, China.

May 13, 1996
On Monday afternoon, May 13, massive thunderstorms(probably supercells) formed along a dryline in western Bangladesh. Dew points in the northeast Indian desert were in the low 40's. Dew points in Bangladesh were in the low 80's. The resulting windstorms killed between 500 and 1,000, injured more than 30,000, and left 100,000 homeless. More than 80 villages with 10,000 homes were destroyed. As many as 22 people died in one family. More than 2000 people were brought to one hospital that had a capacity of 35. The appearance of the trees seems to indicate that at least a portion of these windstorms were tornadic. There were also press reports that people and animals were carried "long distances." The area near Tangail is about 50 miles NNW of Dhaka and about 30 miles north of the Manikganj area, where an estimated 1300 died in a tornado on April 26th, 1989.

A rough plot of the villages that were destroyed indicates that there were at least two separate tracks, about 10 miles north and south of Tangail. The northern track must have been at least 50 miles long. The extraordinary death and injury total may have been enhanced by a recent increase in "prosperity." The growth in the textile industry had allowed the people in this region to move out of homes of mud and straw and into frail sheet metal structures. The air became filled with the loose sheet metal, literally acting like an enormous blender. The horrendous death and injury total seems likely to be repeated. An east-west corridor lying north of the capital(Dhaka) of this impoverished country has a long history of killer tornadoes. On April 14, 1969, estimates of the death toll from another tornado range as high as 922. On April 10, 1991,

The official death toll will be about 700, but at the time this number was quoted, there were still 9000 people in critical condition, and many hundreds had probably been buried by survivors without ever reporting the deaths with officials. The entire country of Bangladesh is about the size of Wisconsin, and has a population of 120 million.

July 22, 1996
A German man who was vacationing at a Black Sea resort in Albena, Bulgaria was killed on Saturday, July 19. He was lying on the beach when a freak tornado-like wind pulled a beach umbrella out of the ground and it hit him on the head. The 54-year-old man was killed instantly.

November 6, 1996
A tornado moved through the town of Moheda, Sweden, late Wednesday afternoon. It removed roofs, flipped occupied vehicles, injuring two people slightly, and caused widespread damage to trees and windows. The roofs on two buildings were blown off. A gas station attendant nearby described it this way: "I saw how the tornado lifted a whole roof. You could see the metal sheeting, roof tiles, trees, everything flew 30-40 meters straight up in the eye of the tornado and was then thrown about."
Moheda is in the southwestern part of Sweden.


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