Tornado Timeline

Events

1842

1842

The principle of sound waves is identified by Christian Doppler.

1860

1860

The "Great Tornado of the Northwest" kills almost 140 farmers and injures 300.

1880

1880

First group of weather "reporters" documents tornadoes and the weather associated with them.

1884

1884

More than 800 people are killed by tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

1888

1888

The mention of the word tornado is felt to provoke undue fear and panic and is banned from announcements to the public.

1896

1896

The Great St. Louis Tornado strikes and injures 1,000 people and kills 225 people.

1908

1908

An EF-4 tornado strikes Louisiana and Mississippi.

1920

1920

A series of seven tornadoes strike Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee in a three day period. Six of these were rated F-4 but one was rated F-5.

1925

1925

The tri-state tornado rips through Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana killing 747 people.

1928

1928

The first documented eyewitness account of a tornado is given by Will Keller, a Kansas farmer.

1938

1938

The word tornado is now included when weather conditions indicate.

1947

1947

A centralized severe weather forecasting program is established in the United States.

1948

1948

Scientists accurately predict an outbreak of tornadoes.

1950

1950

Tornado and severe weather data and plotting are written out by hand.

1950

1950

The use of Severe Weather Bulletins saves lives.

1952

1952

The Weather Bureau-Severe Weather Unit is established and issues the first public tornado bulletin. Thirty-six tornadoes causes deaths in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri.

1952

1952

"Tornado Alley" is used to describe the wide strip where tornadoes are most common.

1953

1953

Deadly tornadoes strike Flint, Michigan; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Waco, Texas.

1965

1965

Computers begin to be used in weather forecasting.

1967

1967

EF-5 tornado in Oak Lawn, Illinois caused one of the highest tornado-related deaths in a single school building. This is the high school.

1974

1974

More than 300 people are killed in a "super outbreak" of 148 tornadoes in 11 Midwestern states.

1980

1980

An interactive computer arrives at the Centralized Storm Information Center.

1988

1988

Doppler radar is used to more accurately predict severe weather.

1989

1989

The worlds deadliest tornado strikes Bangladesh. It kills 1,300, injures 12,000, and makes 80,000 people homeless. It carves a 10 mile wide path.

1997

1997

The National Severe Storms Laboratory is established as the foremost center for reporting severe weather.

1999

1999

Devastating outbreak of tornadoes strikes Oklahoma and Kansas.

1999

1999

By 1999, a tornado warning can be given up to thirty minutes in advance and can save countless lives.

2011

2011

The Joplin tornado devastates Joplin, Missouri and is rated an EF-5.