A moderate tornado outbreak affected several southern US states. A line of tornado-producing supercells formed out in front of a squall line which produced damaging winds. Over ten hours, twenty-five tornadoes killed 7, injured 90, and caused $35 million in damage, primarily in Arkansas and Mississippi.
The main storm was an F3 which touched down north of Bruce, Mississippi late on the night of the 24th. Almost 400 structures were damaged or destroyed in the town of Pontotoc, where 6 were killed and 43 injured. The tornado would track more than , injuring another 30 people in the town of Baldwyn, before lifting near Wheeler.
Aside from the killer F3, there were several other significant tornadoes that day. In Fulton County, Arkansas, an F2 flung a mobile home , killing a two-year-old boy and seriously injuring three other occupants. All told, there were three F3s, seven F2s, seven F1s and four F0s on the 24th. After midnight on the 25th, four F0s tracked through central Tennessee, causing negligible damage.
It began when a strong area of storms moved across eastern Kansas and adjacent Missouri on the afternoon of the 10th. One supercell passed over northern St. Louis producing ten tornadoes, one of which (an F1) destroyed a mobile home, killing one and injuring two. Tornadoes occurred as far east as southwestern Illinois, but the supercell is more memorable for exceptionally widespread large hail. With some hailstones up to baseball size, the swath is the largest continuous in areal coverage and longest in length and duration of very large hail known. Because of the extensive area and heavily populated areas impacted, it is the costliest hailstorm in U.S. history, with $2 billion of insured losses.
The next stage of the outbreak was a swarm of tornadoes which formed on the night of the 10th into the pre-dawn hours of the 11th in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. One person was killed and eleven were injured in this stage, mostly by F2 tornadoes.
After a short break, a third bunch of tornadoes were spawned in and close to the state of Iowa in the late morning through the afternoon. Mostly weaker tornadoes, there were a few significant tornadoes. One, an F2, destroyed a lodge in the town of Agency, killing two people and injuring three. All told, more than $23 million in damage was attributed to the entire outbreak.April 14-15 A few tornadoes touched down in Kansas and Missouri late on the 14th into the early morning of the 15th. Just after midnight, an F1 touched down near Redings Mill, Missouri, damaging several homes and flipping over a trailer, injuring one person.April 17 Two minor tornadoes touched down in far eastern North Carolina.April 21 An outbreak of eleven tornadoes hit central Kansas. While mainly minor, one was an F4 monster, which reportedly struck without warning. Touching down just outside of Hoisington, it tore a two-block-wide path through the north and west sides of town, completely destroying almost 200 homes and businesses and damaging another 230. The roof of the local hospital was partially torn off. The tornado caused $43 million in damage. Twenty-eight people were injured, and one man was killed by a flying vehicle.
Other tornadoes in the outbreak included an F2 which heavily damaged two farms, and 10 scattered F0s.
Additionally, a rare tornado struck the three state junction area of California, Arizona, and Nevada, crossing the Colorado River and causing minimal damage.April 22 Two minor tornadoes touched down in Nebraska. One, an F1, injured a man outside of Blair.April 23 Two minor tornadoes again touched down, this time in Iowa. One, an F1, injured three people and damaged dozens of homes in Independence.April 30 Three F0 tornadoes produced little or no damage in Iowa.
Additionally, a small outbreak of six tornadoes struck open country in south-central Kansas, causing very minor damage and no injuries.June 5 Another minor outbreak, mainly consisting of landspouts, occurred over northwestern Texas and south-central Kansas. Minor damage to farm equipment was the only loss from the 17 confirmed tornadoes.
June 7 An F1 tornado blew a tree down onto a truck in Zachary, Louisiana, killing the driver.June 9 A slew of minor tornadoes (15 F0s and an F1) caused little damage and minor injuries in the northern Great Plains.June 11 A minor outbreak produced 19 tornadoes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The most notable of these was a large F2 tornado which struck Benson, Minnesota, injuring seven people (one critically) and causing $10 million in damage. In an unrelated storm system, a man was killed in his living room by a tree blown down by an F0 in Jacksonville, Florida.June 12 The remnants of Tropical Storm Allison (2001) produced 10 tornadoes in South Carolina and Georgia, all weak and brief in duration. Twenty-two other very weak tornadoes were reported across the northern Great Plains as well.June 13 A fairly large tornado outbreak of mostly weak tornadoes occurred in the Central Plains. Two fairly severe tornadoes did cause major damage, however. An F3 injured three people and caused $5 million in damage near Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Many farms suffered severe damage, including a barn where seven thousand turkeys were killed. A violent F4 tornado also struck a farm near Ruby, Nebraska, completely destroying it and injuring two people.June 18 Two people were killed, with sixteen injured, by an F3 tornado in Wisconsin. It first caused severe damage as a mile-wide tornado in the town of Siren, where it destroyed 200 homes. The two deaths occurred in Dewey Township, where a large portion of the town was destroyed. About of trees were downed along its 30 mile path.June 23 An isolated supercell produced three tornadoes in Connecticut. The first, an F1, hit a golf course in the town of Washington, demolishing a storage building and a tennis court, and injuring one person. The second tornado, rated an F2, touched down in Torrington near Torrington Middle School, damaging the roof and destroying bleachers and a storage shed. The final tornado, an F0, produced minor damage to the East Hartland fire station.
Nine tornadoes stuck the D.C. Metro Area, several significant. The first, a destructive F4, touched down in Culpepper County near Rixeyville, completely destroying a brick home, then destroying several mobile homes, injuring two. In Jeffersonton, it damaged or destroyed a dozen structures. It passed into Fauquier County, damaging a large forested area and a barn.
Another tornado passed through densely populated areas in Fairfax and Arlington Counties into Washington D.C., causing F1 damage. Shortly afterwards, the worst tornado of the outbreak touched down from the same supercell in northern D.C., near Children's Hospital. This tornado was a large multiple vortex tornado, but caused no major damage until it reached Hyattsville. From there, it rapidly strengthened, causing F3 damage as it approached the University of Maryland western campus. There, 48 people were injured by flying debris. Additionally, two women were killed when the car they were in was thrown over an eight-story building into a wooded area. The tornado then turned into a residential area, causing major damage, and approached I-95. Miraculously, even though there were thousands of cars in traffic on the highway, only one truck was flipped over. Continuing north-northeast, the tornado continued to cause significant damage to trees, residences, and other structures, including the National Agricultural Research Center and several schools, before finally lifting in Howard County, near Columbia. This tornado caused $100 million in damage.
A final tornado caused F2 damage in Hanover, Pennsylvania. In all, the nine tornadoes caused more than $105 million in damage, killed two people, and injured 59.
The outbreak was caused by an extremely deep low pressure system that was detected as early as Saturday, October 20 moving in on the coast of California. The Storm Prediction Center was already predicting a chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday. The area forecast discussion started mentioning a "severe potential" on Tuesday, also mentioning "severe storms with large hail and damaging winds possible".
On the morning of October 24, the SPC was on its highest alert after issuing a "high risk" for severe weather for Indiana, middle Kentucky, eastern Illinois, southern Michigan, and western Ohio. The surrounding area was in a slight risk. At 5:00 A.M., a severe weather outlook was issued highlighting the fact that the area was under a high risk as well as a possibility of tornadoes.
By 11:30 A.M., the SPC issued a Public Severe Weather Outlook calling for "intense tornadoes" in the area. Fifteen minutes later, the SPC issued a tornado watch for northern Indiana, and northwestern Ohio. The watch was a PDS: A "particularly dangerous situation".
At around 12:30 P.M., a line of storms began forming in central and eastern Illinois and moved east. At around 3:12 P.M., a tornado warning was issued for LaPorte County. It is believed that this is the tornado that killed a 50-year-old woman when her modular home was swept away near LaPorte. It was an F2 on the Fujita scale. At 3:15, another tornado watch was issued for southern Michigan.
At 3:46, another tornado warning was issued for St. Joseph County, Indiana and southeastern Berrien County, Michigan and Cass County. A few minutes later, another tornado, perhaps the strongest of the outbreak -- an F3 -- touched down and did major damage to buildings in Crumstown, a town near South Bend. The line moved into South Bend at exactly 4:05 P.M., producing 89 mph (140 km/h) winds at the airport. The tornado that hit Crumstown later hit Niles in Berrien County, then moved east-northeast into Cass County and dissipated in northwestern Saint Joseph County, Michigan. There were no deaths attributed to this tornado.
Other weaker tornadoes touched down in Mishawaka and moved northeast into Elkhart County. In Elkhart County, one of two separate tornadoes hit a Toll Road Maintenance Building and the other briefly touched down in the Cobus Green Trailer Court to the south-doing some damage to a few trailers. Another tornado damaged a trailer and a house in Marshall County and moved east into Kosciusko County and dissipated in Noble County. This particular tornado was photographed by meteorologists as it came near their forecast office in North Webster. Prior to the photo being taken, the tornado hit a factory on the north side of Warsaw, IN.
Later in the evening the severe storm produced straight line winds through the campus of Michigan State University downing many trees and damaging buildings. The National Weather Service estimates most of the downbursts through East Lansing were between 60-80 mph, with one reaching . The supercell that passed through East Lansing also spawned 2 tornadoes in the Saginaw area.
By 5:30 p.m., the severe weather moved out of Indiana and into Ohio where damage was not as bad. One tornado was reported in Ohio, an F3 that moved from Paulding County into Putnam County. By 7:30, all severe weather watches were discontinued.