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1908 Dixie tornado outbreak

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Tornado outbreak

Tornadoes confirmed
≥ ?

+$? million

April 23–25, 1908

Duration of tornado outbreak
≥3 days

Start date
April 23, 1908

1908 Dixie tornado outbreak httpsiytimgcomviR8MUwjD8R6Emaxresdefaultjpg

Max rating
? (possibly F5) tornado

1899 New Richmond tornado, Great Natchez Tornado, 1932 Deep South tornado o, 1953 Flint–Beecher tornado, Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak

Weather history 1908 dixie tornado outbreak

The 1908 Dixie tornado outbreak was a destructive tornado outbreak that affected portions of the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the Southern United States from April 23–25, 1908. The outbreak produced at least 29 tornadoes in 13 states, with a total of at least 324 tornado-related deaths. Of these deaths, 83% were caused by three tornadoes which have been posthumously rated violent F4s on the modern Fujita scale. These three tornadoes, each of them probably a tornado family, left a cumulative path length of at least 265 miles (426 km) and injured at least 1,358 people, yet caused only 84 of their deaths in cities: most of the deaths were in rural areas, often African American, and consequently may have been undercounted. One of the three deadliest tornadoes in the outbreak occurred on the same day, April 24, as that of the other two; reportedly attained a maximum width of at least 2 miles (3.2 km) or larger; and killed a minimum of 143 people along its path, at least 73 (51%) of them in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The 73 deaths made the tornado the third deadliest in Mississippi history, following the 1936 Tupelo F5, with 216 deaths, and the 1840 Natchez tornado (317 deaths).


In addition to the Purvis tornado, the outbreak generated five other violent tornadoes in two days. The first two of these struck in Nebraska and Texas on April 23, collectively killing four people. The remaining three developed in Louisiana and Alabama the next day. A large and intense, pre-dawn tornado began early in the morning southeast of Alexandria, Louisiana, and produced a devastating path of damage into Concordia Parish and thence into Mississippi, killing 91 people. Another tornado developed in the afternoon over Northern Alabama, moving diagonally to the northeast and killing 35 people in rural areas. The final of the three F4s on April 24 hit extreme East Alabama and crossed into West Georgia, killing 11 people and leveling small homes. Besides these tornadoes, one other tornado killed at least 10 people in Georgia. The 1908 Dixie outbreak is tied with the 2011 Super Outbreak for fourth-deadliest continuous tornado outbreak in American history and April 24 is the only single day in United States history to have two separate tornadoes kill 90 people or more.

Concordia Parish, Louisiana/near Natchez, Mississippi

The first of two major, long-tracked, violent tornadoes first began at about 5:00 a.m. CST just north of Lamourie. Upon touching down, the tornado immediately killed three people at Richland and then four more at Ruby soon after touching down. As it crossed into Avoyelles Parish, it caused 25 injuries between the communities of Effie and Center Point. Farther along the path, two more people were killed near New Era. Upon crossing into Concordia Parish, the tornado rapidly widened to 700 yards (2,100 ft) or more and intensified, destroying numerous large plantations. At least 30 people died in Concordia Parish as many tenant homes were completely leveled. The massive tornado then crossed into Mississippi just north of Vidalia, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, devastating many more plantations, killing at least 30 more people, and injuring about 200, especially near "Pine Ridge". Large antebellum mansions were destroyed, and witnesses reported that areas along the Mississippi River resembled a "deserted battlefield". The tornado then struck the Church Hill area, killing 21 people in frail tenant homes before dissipating near Tillman. At least 400 people were injured along the path, though the actual total, as in other tornadoes this day, was likely higher as most newspapers in the South failed to list Black dead and injured, many of whom were poor sharecroppers.

Amite, Louisiana/Purvis, Mississippi

The second of the two long-tracked F4s was one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history. An exceptionally large and intense tornado, it first began at about 11:45 a.m. CST in Weiss, just north of Livingston. Two people were killed at Denham Springs near the beginning of the path. Two others were killed near Montpelier as well. The tornado then struck Amite directly, carving a path of destruction 2 miles (3.2 km) wide through the town. Many structures were completely destroyed in Amite, and 29 people were killed. Four others were killed near Wilmer, along with nine additional fatalities occurring near Pine. The tornado crossed into Mississippi, killing two before tearing through Purvis and devastating most of the town. Only seven of the 150 buildings were left standing, and 55 people were killed there. Five other fatalities were documented in rural areas outside of Purvis as well. Four railroad crew workers were killed further along the path near McCallum, located 8 miles (13 km) to the south of Hattiesburg, as they tried seek shelter in a boxcar. The boxcars were thrown 150 feet (46 m) and torn apart by the tornado. Several other fatalities occurred near Richton before the tornado dissipated. At least 770 people were injured along the entire path, though the real total was likely higher, perhaps significantly so, as many minor injuries were probably ignored—an omission still common in contemporary tornado disasters. With at least 143 deaths, the Amite–Purvis tornado is officially the eighth deadliest in U.S. history, though its long path may have actually consisted of two or more tornadoes.

Bergens/Albertville, Alabama

A destructive tornado first began at about 2:40 p.m. CST in southeast Walker County, Alabama, though its actual genesis may have occurred earlier. It first touched down somewhere southwest of Dora and moved northeast, whence it was seen to merge with a "black cloud," possibly another tornado which was then moving east and dissipating. Quickly intensifying and widening to about 1,000 yards (0.57 mi), the tornado grew to F4 intensity and struck the nearby village of Bergens. According to reports, the damage swath on the west side of the tornado briefly shrunk as it neared Bergens, causing nearby residents of Dora to believe that a row of hills had deflected the winds from their town. In Bergens, the tornado completely destroyed most of the homes and "leveled" the village church and the store. Of the 42 homes in Bergens, only one remained undamaged, and almost 65% of them were destroyed. A nearby depot in Bergens was also destroyed and three of 10 boxcars sitting empty on the railroad were overturned; heavy boxcar parts were reportedly carried 100 feet (30 m) away. Six people in Bergens died instantly and two more later expired of their injuries; of the 16 remaining injured, at least four more died to make the final death toll 12 at Bergens.

Farther along the path, the tornado destroyed numerous homes in the village of Old Democrat, located 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Dora, killing two more people there. Next, the "coal-black" funnel struck Warrior and the town of Wynnville, killing two people each at both locations. Turning to the north-northeast, the tornado then crossed into Marshall County and struck Albertville, destroying half the town. An oil tank weighing 9 tonnes (20,000 lb) was carried .5 miles (2,600 ft) at this location, and a train was overturned and destroyed. At least 15 people died in Albertville and 150 were injured, fully 80% of the injuries recorded for the entire tornado. The tornado continued through heavily forested areas along the remainder of its path, possibly dissipating and reforming into a new tornado which passed through Tenbroek and the north edge of Sylvania. After striking the north side of Sylvania, the tornado finally dissipated, having traveled at least 105 miles (169 km) and possibly as long as 125 miles (201 km) within one hour and 35 minutes. Although the tornado killed 35 people, it only injured 188, likely due to the low population of the area impacted.


1908 Dixie tornado outbreak Wikipedia

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