Other Violent Tornadoes in Mississippi History

While it was a landmark tornado in central Mississippi during the last half of the 20th century, the Candlestick Park is unfortunately one of a number of infamous tornadoes to strike the state of Mississippi in recorded history. Without question, the most notorious tornado in Mississippi history is the Natchez tornado of May 7, 1840. This tornado started across the river in Concordia Parish, LA, and moved up the Mississippi River, killing hundreds of people on boats and barges before killing several dozen more in Natchez itself. At least 317 people were killed by this tornado, making it the second deadliest tornado in United States history.

During the 20th century, the most devastating Mississippi tornado was the Tupelo tornado of April 5, 1936. This tornado killed 216 people, making it the fourth most deadly tornado in United States history. Other than the Candlestick Park tornado, the only other F5 tornado in Mississippi was the Vicksburg tornado of December 5, 1953. This tornado killed 38 people.

Three other dates are particularly infamous in the tornado history of Mississippi. The most recent was Feburary 21, 1971. On this date, an outbreak of several strong and violent tornadoes occurred across the Arklamiss region, with three separate violent (F4 or F5) tornadoes occurring. A total of 117 people would be killed by these three tornadoes, over 100 of which were in the Delta counties of Mississippi. More than 1200 people were injured.

The other two outbreak dates of note were much earlier in the century. On the morning of April 20, 1920, three violent tornadoes occurred over east central Mississippi and west central Alabama. More than 150 people were killed in this area. Nearly 100 were killed by the most devastating tornado, which started in Oktibbeha County and tracked northeast for well over 100 miles into northern Alabama, finally dissipating in Lawrence County. Another devastating morning occurred on April 24, 1908. Two violent tornadoes, both with more than 100 mile path lengths, killed more than 200 people across south Mississippi and east central and southeast Louisiana. More than 50 people were killed in Purvis, which was nearly totally destroyed by the tornado that raged through town during the late morning hours.

Luckily, Mississippi has for the most part been spared in recent years the destruction of violent tornadoes moving through our cities and communities.  There have been a couple notable exceptions to this. The first was during the late night and early morning hours of November 21-22, 1992, when a long track, violent tornado moved across central Mississippi killing 12 people, with most of the fatalities in Brandon. The second was much more recent, occurring April 24, 2010. This tornado occurred in the late morning and into the afternoon hours. The track began just south of Interstate 20 across Madison Parish and continued on the ground for 149 miles and 2 hours and 44 minutes. This tornado did considerable damage to the Yazoo City area and was rated EF4 at that location. 10 people were killed across central Mississippi as a result of this long track, violent tornado.

Deadliest Tornadoes in Mississippi 1950-2010

Rank
Date
Time(CST)
Strength
Deaths
Injuries
Location (Counties)
1
2/21/1971
1600
F4
58
795
Issaquena-Grenada
2
3/3/1966
1830
F5
57
504
Hinds-Kemper
3
12/5/1953
1745
F5
38
270
Warren
4
2/21/1971
1543
F4*
36
492
Issaquena-Sunflower
5
1/23/1969
0525
F4
32
241
Jefferson-Scott
6
4/21/1984
1600
F3
15
76
Leflore-Union
7
2/21/1971
1706
F4
13
182
Warren-Holmes
8
11/21/1992
2335
F4
12
98
Copiah-Marshall
9
4/24/2010
1009
F4
10
146
Madison LA - Oktibbeha MS
10
3/21/1952
2200
F4
9
24
Marshall
10
1/10/1975
0814
F4
9
210
Pike-Simpson
12
2/26/1958
1730
F3
8
36
Copiah-Leake
13
2/4/1971
1715
F2
7
0
Grenada
14
2/24/2001
2135
F3
6
43
Calhoun-Prentiss
15
4/29/1963
1520
F3
5
10
Coahoma
16
10/30/1967
0754
F3
4
17
Harrison
16
4/18/1978
0030
F4
4
31
Lawrence-Jeff Davis
16
4/10/1970
1206
F4
4
78
Tippah-Alcorn

* - This tornado was F5 in Louisiana - only F4 in Mississippi.*

 

30 Longest Tornado Tracks in Mississippi

Rank
Date
Time
CST
Deaths Injuries Width
Yards
Path
Miles
F
Scale
Counties Affected
1
3/3/1966 1830
57
504
900
203
5
Hinds, Rankin, Scott, Leake, Neshoba, Kemper, Noxubee, Pickens AL, Tuscaloosa AL
2
2/21/1971 1600
58
795
800
160
4
Issaquena, Sharkey, Humphreys, Leflore, Grenada, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, Lafayette
3
4/24/1908 1145
143
770
1000
155
4
Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington LA, Marion, Lamar, Forrest, Perry, Wayne MS
4
4/24/2010 1009
10
146
3080
149
4

Madison, LA, Warren, Issaquena, Sharkey, Yazoo, Holmes, Attala, Choctaw, Oktibbeha MS

5
4/20/1920 0800
88
700
800
130
4

Oktibbeha, Clay, Monroe, Itawamba MS,
Marion, Franklin, Colbert, Lawrence AL

6
11/21/1992 2335
12
98
800
128
4
Copiah, Simpson, Rankin, Scott, Leake, Attala, Choctaw
7
4/29/1909 1930
29
100
600
125
4
DeSoto MS,
Shelby, Fayette, Hardeman, Chester, Henderson, Decatur TN
8
2/21/1971 1450
36
492
600
110
5
Richland, Madison, East Carroll LA,
Issaquena, Sharkey, Washington, Humphreys, Sunflower, Leflore MS
9
4/24/1908 0500
91
400
700
105
4
Rapides, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia LA,
Adams, Jefferson, Claiborne MS
9
1/23/1969 0525
32
241
1200
105
4
Jefferson, Copiah, Simpson, Rankin, Smith, Scott
11
4/3/1974 1950
30
280
800
102
5
Monroe MS,
Lamar, Marion, Winston, Lawrence, Morgan AL
12
11/20/1900 1900
2
40
200
95
2
Bolivar, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, Panola
13
4/21/1984 1600
15
76
125
91
3
Leflore, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, Lafayette, Union
14
11/20/1900 1445
30
100
500
90
4
Coahoma, Tunica, Tate, DeSoto, Marshall MS,
Fayette TN
14
3/28/1902 1530
2
30
70
90
2
Calhoun, Pontotoc, Lee, Itawamba MS,
Franklin AL
16
3/29/1976 1405
0
8
600
76
4
Copiah, Simpson, Rankin, Smith, Scott
17
2/21/1971 1706
13
182
800
70
4
Warren, Yazoo, Holmes
18
3/16/1919 1300
17
50
300
65
3
Franklin, Richland, Madison, East Carroll LA,
Issaquena, Sharkey MS
18
5/26/1924 2330
9
25
unk
65
2
Covington, Jones, Wayne, Clarke
18
2/26/1958 1730
8
36
70
65
3
Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Leake
21
4/20/1920 0700
24
180
400
60
4
Union, Tiah, Prentiss, Alcorn, Tishomingo
21
2/26/1958 1730
7
24
70
60
3
Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Leake
23
4/24/1976 1945
0
2
300
59
2
Panola, Lafayette, Union
24
4/22/1883 0940
4
30
200
55
3
Concordia LA,
Adams, Jefferson, Claiborne MS
24
4/22/1883 1300
11
100
400
55
3
Copiah, Simpson, Rankin, Scott
24
3/24/1949 2200
7
69
100
55
3
West Carroll, East Carroll LA,
Washington MS
27
10/17/1980 1315
0
0
200
53
2
Washington, Humphreys, Leflore
28
2/24/2001 2135
6
43
270
52
3
Calhoun, Pontotoc, Union, Lee, Prentiss
29
5/26/1924 2345
10
30
200
50
3
Jasper, Clarke, Lauderdale
29
3/20/1976 2020
1
9
125
50
3
Webster, Clay, Chickasaw, Monroe

 


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