Ruins of the town of Griffin, Indiana, where 26 people were killed.

Ruins of the town of Griffin, Indiana, where 26 people were killed.

On March 18, 1925, eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana were devastated by the worst tornado in U.S. history.

  • 695 people killed
  • 13,000 people injured
  • $17 million in property damage
A man tests his weight on a piece of wood driven into a Murphysboro, Illinois, tree by the force of the tornado. Photograph courtesy Jackson County Historical Society

A man tests his weight on a piece of wood driven into a Murphysboro, Illinois, tree by the force of the tornado.
Photograph courtesy Jackson County Historical Society

This deadly twister, named the “Tri-State Tornado,” had a northeast track starting in Ellington, Missouri but southern Illinois was hit with the worst of it.  More than 500 of the 695 people who were killed were from southern Illinois.  In the town of Murphysboro, 234 people died and in West Frankfurt, 127.

This is a photograph of damage to the Longview school where 17 students were killed by the Tri-State Tornado of 18 March 1925. http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/historic/nws/wea00234.htm

This is a photograph of damage to the Longview school where 17 students were killed by the Tri-State Tornado of 18 March 1925. http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/historic/nws/wea00234.htm

A tornado generally travels in a northeasterly distance at speeds of 20 to 40 mph and usually covers anywhere between one and more than 100 miles.  Here are some of the statistical facts about the Tri-State Tornado:

  • Traveled 219 miles
  • Spent more than three hours on the ground
  • Devastated 164 square miles
  • Diameter of more than a mile
  • Speed in excess of 70 mph, unsurpassed in U.S. history.
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