Mississippi Tornadoes: A History of Devastation
On April 27, 2011, the United States saw the deadliest tornado outbreak since 1955 as 148 people lost their lives to tornadoes that ripped through Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The most severe tornado of the outbreak, which was measured at EF4, touched down in Smithville, Mississippi on the afternoon of April 25th. The town of Smithville was completely leveled by this destructive Mississippi Tornado leaving eleven people dead and 200 injured.
On February 10th, 2016, the state of Mississippi was hit by the strongest recorded tornado in history. It was rated an EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and its 190+ mile-per-hour winds caused roughly $1 billion worth of damage. Mississippi Tornado also killed 4 people who were living in a mobile home near Hattiesburg, Mississippi and injured more than 50 others who were in this area at the time.
As the Midwestern United States gets ready to brace itself against the upcoming spring storms, it’s hard to forget that it was only this past February that the state of Mississippi suffered one of its worst natural disasters in recent history due to Mississippi Tornado. With tornado warnings in place and sustained winds approaching 130 miles per hour, over 1 million people were left without power, and dozens lost their lives in what has been called the worst natural disaster ever to hit the state of Mississippi by Governor Phil Bryant himself.
The deadliest tornado in US history
April 27, 2011 was a day that would live in infamy. It was the day when 161 tornadoes ripped through eight states, destroying everything in their paths. The tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri was the deadliest tornado in US history and killed 158 people and injured 1,150 others. Alabama had 8 confirmed deaths with 10 injuries from two separate EF-4’s. Tennessee was also heavily affected with 6 deaths from EF-3s and 4 injuries from EF-2s. Oklahoma had 14 fatalities from EF-5s and 25 injuries from EF-4s or EF-5s. Arkansas reported 3 fatalities.
People living in Oklahoma and its neighboring state can not forget a very bad day of devastation. In total, there were 364 tornadoes reported across 8 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee). North Alabama alone had six tornado reports on April 27th. The tornado that hit Joplin was rated EF-5 with wind speeds reaching 205 miles per hour.
Two days after the devastating disaster, Texas experienced 22 tornadoes that left six dead and 35 injured. Three weeks later, 15 more lives were lost in storms as another 63 people became injured. No one could have predicted what would happen to this country following these days of chaos but it is important to remember how close it came to losing so many lives as well as what it took to rebuild afterwards.
The most tornadoes in a single state
The tornadoes in Mississippi are the most in a single state. The first one mississippi tornado was reported in 1811, and there have been 581 since then. There is no way to predict when they will hit or what will happen if they do, but people need to be aware that it could happen anytime. It’s important to have an emergency plan for tornado season so you know what to do if you’re not at home. One possibility for survival is to get into your bathtub. If you live in a mobile home, move to a permanent structure because these homes can’t withstand strong winds.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Mississippi ranks in the top 10 states with high tornado risks. They report that the state averages 9 mississippi tornadoes per year, which is higher than the national average of 5 tornados per year. The majority of these tornadoes are EF-1 or EF-2 on a scale from 0 to 5, with EF-0 being the least powerful and EF-5 being the most powerful.
How to Combat Tornado
I. If a tornado like mississippi tornado is spotted, take cover immediately. Put as many walls between you and it as possible. Once you’re in a safe place, stay put even if you’re out of view. If you’re in a mobile home, get out and go to a permanent structure as quickly as possible. Whatever happens, don’t look at it directly or try to take photos—the flashing lights can cause severe eye damage.
II. Tornado watches like any other states are also issued for mississippi tornado. When weather conditions are ripe for tornadoes to form. There isn’t a chance that they will appear, but there is a chance. If you hear thunder, you should stay inside and keep listening to local TV and radio stations for further instructions. If a warning is issued, head immediately to your safe place—don’t go out even if you’re not in a place specified by emergency officials.
Classification of Tornadoes
EF-0 tornadoes cause minor damage and can last up to a minute. EF-1 tornados can last from a few seconds to over 15 minutes and cause minor to moderate damage. The next level on that scale is EF-2, which causes moderate to major damages and can produce wind speeds up to 111 miles per hour for more than 5 minutes. Finally, an EF-3 tornado can be classified as major with wind speeds greater than 136 miles per hour for longer than five minutes.
EF-4 tornado can cause extreme damage, including complete destruction and major to total building failures. You won’t likely encounter an EF-4 tornado in your lifetime, as they only account for 1% of all tornados that occur in a year.
The state of Mississippi has seen some devastating tornadoes throughout the years, and with the most recent storms in April 2017, it is a reminder that these catastrophes are always possible. Some of the most destructive tornagues in history to hit Mississippi include The Joplin Tornado on May 22, 2011, which was an EF-5 tornado and killed 161 people.
The Tuscaloosa Tornado on April 27, 2011 was also an EF-5 tornado and killed 64 people. The Enterprise Tornado on April 24, 1966 (April 25 1966 UTC) was classified as an F4 tornado and killed 14 people. The Tupelo Tornado on April 5, 1936 was classified as an F5 tornado and resulted in 216 deaths.
Preparing for a tornado
The best way to prepare for a tornado is to make a plan and have supplies on hand in case it comes your way. If you live in a region that has had tornadoes before, keep an eye on the weather forecast and take time to inspect your property.
When looking around your home, be sure to look at the following areas:
Your roof- can you see any damage?
Your gutters- are they clean or full of debris?
Your windows- do they close properly? Do they have any cracks? Are all the screens secure?
Your siding- does it need paint or repair?
And lastly, your garage door and any outbuildings like sheds, barns etc.
The Mississippi Tornadoes have been one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. It is always best to be prepared for the unexpected, and knowing your history can help you do just that. The long-term effects of this disaster are still being felt today, both economically and emotionally.
After hearing about these powerful events through history it will make anyone want to take their storm preparation very seriously! Keep on visiting our website for updated information.