40th Anniversary of Tornado “Super Outbreak”
April 4, 2014 — Forty years ago this week, 49 Hoosiers were killed and 768 others injured as 20 tornadoes tore through the state in a single 24 hour period.
Known as the “Super Outbreak,” the event included 148 tornadoes across 13 states on April 3rd and 4th in 1974. In all, more than 300 people were killed and 6000 injured. The damage covered more than 2500 miles, approximately the same distance from San Francisco to Atlanta. Another remarkable feature was that 30 of the tornadoes were considered “violent,” rated as F4 or F5 on the Fujita Scale. The average number of F4 and F5 tornadoes in a given year is seven.
According to the National Weather Service, at one point 15 tornadoes were in progress at the same time.
The Weather Channel says today, a U.S. tornado rarely goes “undetected”, thanks to vast improvements in modern technology, such as Doppler radar networks, and improved public awareness, spotter programs, and verification efforts from the National Weather Service.
The photo above shows damage to Presbyterian Church in Monticello, Indiana following the storms.