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zinski1990

List your Strongest Tornadoes ever

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I remember a long time ago seeing a forum like this on another site. Cant find it anywhere now. Anyways since spring and severe weather season is coming what are your thoughts on the strongest tornadoes in American History? Preferably 1950 to present day but you can list older ones as well. Obviously just take into consideration all factors (violence, wind speed, upward motion, damage, etc). Try and make it a Top 10 list or if you really want to try and do Top 20. Think this could be a nice change of pace as I like to throw out unique forum discussions. Thank you. I'll have my list out later. Would like to see what anyone else has for a while

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Tough to answer since we are basically slaves to stuff being destroyed, which means that tornadoes that stay in open areas tend to get overlooked.  I've always been mindful of what Fujita said about how the Plainfield tornado was one of the most impressive he had surveyed because of the corn damage, but I doubt that would make many lists.  And it could be that the "corn science" is unreliable/outdated... I really don't know.

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This is a fun topic.  I'll put together some thoughts, not sure if it will be 10 or 20 or somewhere in between:

1) Jarrell, Texas 1997 - Some of the most complete damage of homes ever seen.  

2)  El Reno, Oklahoma 2011 - 1.9 million pound oil derrick was toppled and rolled 3 times.  20,000 pound truck was thrown over a mile

3)  Phil Campbell, Alabama 2011 - F5 damage for much of its length.  ground scouring, a car was completely destroyed and never found

4)  Bridge Creek, Oklahoma 1999 - The infamous Moore tornado of 99, measured 318 mph winds

5)  Smithville, Mississippi 2011 - Picked up an SUV and threw it a half mile into the towns water tower.  all plumbing in some hones were either shredded or missing

6)  Andover, Kansas 1991 - famous Andover tornado

7)  Kellerville, Texas 1995 - This was only rated an F4 but the damage to a home was so intense that the surveyors missed it.  Also ripped up multiple stretches of pavement.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qmJOy0bxMQ  (can be seenat 11:00 of this video)

 

8)  Guin, Alabama 1974 - One of the longest F5 damage paths for a tornado

9)  Goessel, Kansas 1990 - The second F5 for this supercell after the Hesston storm.  

10)  Plainfield, Illinois 1990 - Fujita said it was some of the most intense ground scouring he's ever seen

11)  Bakersfield Valley, Texas 1990- Only rated an F4 but rolled 180000 pound oil tanks 3 miles and 600 feet up a hill

12)  Stratton, Nebraska 1990 - also rated an F4 and fairly unknown but mangled farm equipment into balls and picked up mud from a lake and plastered it throughout the town(the pic below is of the incredible meso of this storm)

13)  Philadelphia, Mississippi 2011 - 2 foot deep ground scouring

14)  Brandenburg, Kentucky 1974

15)  Wheatland, Pennsylvania 1985

16)  Barneveld, Wisconsin 1984

17)  Loyal Valley, Texas 1999

18)  Jordan, Iowa 1976 - 

19) Mulhall, Oklahoma 1999

20)  Greensburg, Kansas 2007

 

Screenshot 2019-03-11 at 11.10.41 PM.png

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The Extreme Planet blog series is a great resource on violent tornado history, I wish he'd post more stuff again.

I agree with most of Madwx's list, except I would move Andover further down (It was rated an F5 which means it was undoubtedly exceptionally violent, but nothing in particular stands out to me about the damage it did) and replace Greensburg with Parkersburg 2008, which left some extreme debris granulation and wind rowing. I don't doubt Greensburg was a legitimate EF5, but I don't think it was quite as violent as some of the likely-underrated F4s you mentioned, plus certain EF4s of recent years (Tuscaloosa 4/27/11, Chickasha 5/24/11, Vilonia, AR 4/27/14 are my top three underrated should-be-EF5s).

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1- Philadelphia Ms 4/27/2011 2 ft ground scouring with fast moving tornado. The structures it did hit were wiped out. Seems to be a forgotten tornado and I always wondered what it would have done if hitting more populated areas like others that day.        2- Brandenburg Ky 4/3/74 Maybe the most extreme structural damage to well built homes I've heard from a tornado. In my view strongest ef5 of the outbreak.    3- Smithville Ms 4/27/2011 Narrow but extreme swath of structures wiped clean with pipes twisted. SUV thrown into water tower.                                                  4- 5/3/99 Moore Bridge Creek. Highest recorded wind speed.                                  5- 5/27/97 Jarrell TX. Thought about it being higher but held off due to its extreme slow movement. Still impressive as we all know.                                            6- 4/26/91 Andover Homes wiped clean trailer park blown apart.                             7- 4/27/11 Hackleburg Phil Campbell AL. 70 plus deaths while only hitting small towns or rural areas. Longest stretch of EF5 damage I've seen.              8- Udall Ks 5/25/55. Much of the town leveled with numerous concrete buildings blown apart. Extreme scouring and vehicle damage. Trucks wrapped around debarked trees similar to 5/3/99. An often forgotten tornado I think.            9- 3/3/66 Jackson Ms. Extreme damage to large buildings including concrete church, pavement scouring, steel girders mangled.                                                    10- 5/22/11 Joplin Wide swath of homes wiped clean, tractor trailer tossed half a mile. Concrete parking slabs blown put of pavement.                                              11- 5/24/11 El Reno Piedmont Ok. Extreme debarking, vehicle damage, scouring, and oil tank tossed a mile. Was a debate on where to put this one since it didn't hit many other structures.            12- 4/4/77 Birmingham AL. Homes blown away with basements partly blown away with outer walls ripped apart. Large trucks thrown.                                            13- 4/3/74 Tanner AL Homes wiped clean with well pump sucked out. Extreme cases of scouring.                      14- 5/11/70 Lubbock. Very heavy fertilizer tanks thrown and major structural damage to high rise building.  15- 5/31/85 Niles Wheatland. Large shopping center destroyed. Factory blown apart with metal girders mangled or blown. Intense scouring.                    16- Rainsville 4/27/11. Underrated and extreme tornado with possibly some of the most intense suction vertices recorded. 800 lb safe blown away. Extreme debarking and scouring. Concrete porches and parts of foundations torn apart. Storm Shelter partially sucked out of ground.              17- 4/16/98 Forgotten F5 Tenn. Intense ground scouring, few structures it did hit produced extreme damage with homes completely wiped clean.                         18- 4/3/74 Guin Al. Similar tornado to 2011 Phil Campbell Hackenberg. Homes wiped clean with foundations dislodged.  EF5 Throughtout much of its path.          19- 3/13/90 Hesston Ks. Wiped clean homes with basements remaining also with damage. Cars thrown considerable distances. Industrial buildings blown apart.                                                          20- 6/13/76 Jordan Iowa. Farms blown away without recognition. Extreme damage to farmhouses wiped clean.         Honorable mentions or questionable rating ones- 5/20/13 Moore Ok. 4/26/91 Red Rock, 4/27/11 Tuscaloosa, 5/31/13 El Reno, and 4/11/65 Palm Sunday Dunlap Indiana 

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4 hours ago, snowlover2 said:

Can't have a list without the 4/3/1974 Xenia Ohio F5.

Rather like Andover, the info I've read about Xenia suggests it was relatively unimpressive as (E)F5s go. Still extremely violent, but only over a small portion of its path. Brandenburg, Guin and Tanner (I) were probably more violent overall that day.

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Xenia I always thought was overrated. Yes, it was a bad violent tornado but it seems to me to be of similar strength like 2007 Greensburg. I still think though its deserving of its f5 ranking

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15 minutes ago, CheeselandSkies said:

Rather like Andover, the info I've read about Xenia suggests it was relatively unimpressive as (E)F5s go. Still extremely violent, but only over a small portion of its path. Brandenburg, Guin and Tanner (I) were probably more violent overall that day.

And yet the deadliest of the 74 super outbreak.

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3 minutes ago, snowlover2 said:

And yet the deadliest of the 74 super outbreak.

Brandenburg had just one less fatality, despite spending a much smaller portion of its path over populated areas.

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