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Author Topic: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974  (Read 1715 times)

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Offline Thundersnow

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50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« on: March 28, 2024, 10:49:18 AM »
That one was just a little before my time (a lot before some of y'all's time  ;) ). But, I know some of you remember it. I have family that remember it.

I thought it deserves a special mention and thread since April 3-4th will mark 50 years since an outbreak that has yet to be reached by another event since then in terms of the scope of it (although 4/27/2011 made a run at it).

As far as effects in TN, this outbreak mainly affected Middle and East TN, mainly from just about Nashville and east from there. The most horrific effects of it were both north and south of the state though. Alabama was hit especially hard, as were Ohio and Indiana.

Some particularly infamously hit areas were Guin, AL, and Xenia, OH, but many areas in between. This event was important historically for the evolution of modern tornado science and severe weather studies and ratings. Dr. Ted Fujita began developing his rating system in the early 1970s, which became the F-scale (which was later modified into the EF-scale), and he made early use of the rating system of storm tracks in 1974. Note that he actually considered an "F-6" rating for some of the catastrophic damage in that system.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2024, 11:02:26 AM by Thundersnow »

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2024, 10:57:13 AM »
I know I've seen some archived warnings of this before from that day (I may look some of that up later). There's a plethora of studies, footage, and videos about this event... lots of maps and synoptic studies. Feel free to share any information you have or find on this.

Online StormNine

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2024, 05:41:23 PM »
That one was just a little before my time (a lot before some of y'all's time  ;) ). But, I know some of you remember it. I have family that remember it.

I thought it deserves a special mention and thread since April 3-4th will mark 50 years since an outbreak that has yet to be reached by another event since then in terms of the scope of it (although 4/27/2011 made a run at it).

As far as effects in TN, this outbreak mainly affected Middle and East TN, mainly from just about Nashville and east from there. The most horrific effects of it were both north and south of the state though. Alabama was hit especially hard, as were Ohio and Indiana.

Some particularly infamously hit areas were Guin, AL, and Xenia, OH, but many areas in between. This event was important historically for the evolution of modern tornado science and severe weather studies and ratings. Dr. Ted Fujita began developing his rating system in the early 1970s, which became the F-scale (which was later modified into the EF-scale), and he made early use of the rating system of storm tracks in 1974. Note that he actually considered an "F-6" rating for some of the catastrophic damage in that system.

I will say, the science behind that is probably the most significant aspect of this event. This is event as mentioned not only birthed tornado science but essentially planted the seeds of the whole weather enthuasist community. It isn't a stretch to say that this forum and others would not exist if it wasn't for 4/3/1974.  Especially, considering the scope of this event and the fact that it impacted both "Hoosier Alley" and "Dixie Alley" made it even more influential. 

While, 4/27/2021 was worse if you just included MS/AL/GA and surrounding areas and while, 3/27/1890 and 3/18/1925 (you could possibly even throw in Dec 2021 as well) were worse for the Ohio Valley by itself, this event essentially did a bit of both of your major Dixie and your major Hooiser/Ohio Valley events.  It was a stitch of both 4/27/2021 attached to 3/27/1890.  Which, is what made it impactful because it impacted a large audience. 

Online StormNine

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2024, 05:57:24 PM »
Cookeville/Jamestown F-4's as well as the damage around Estill Springs from one of the Tanner, AL tornadoes were the worst/most devasting tornadoes in Tennessee.   

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2024, 10:52:57 AM »
There was a bad one in the Louisville area as well, as I recall.

Offline spanarkle08

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2024, 07:14:13 PM »
Tore through the Harmony community in Franklin County where iived..destroyed our house, killed my aunt and uncle who lived 100 yards behind us.. Terrible night for a 12 year old.

Offline ChrisPC

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2024, 01:56:24 PM »
That’s terrible; I’m so sorry. Were they in a trailer? My grandparents had one, and lived next to us. When the weather got bad, they’d stay with us in our wood-frame house.

Offline spanarkle08

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2024, 03:38:27 PM »
Actually a 3 bedroom wood framed house...my aunt was 8 months pregnant, they had a 22 month old which she survived...my other uncle adopted her.

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2024, 07:09:16 AM »
For a lot of us, it was just an interesting event in history. But, for you, it was a life-altering tragedy that was a major factor in your family’s history. I know you must still grieve those you lost to this day. And, this is where enthusiasts of severe weather should never forget- the tragic side of the human element of it all. The fascination and awe is fine, but there’s also the side that we should never lose sight of the fear and respect for it. I suspect for many, it will be a somber day to reflect.

Offline Beth

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2024, 08:17:16 AM »
It is something I will never forget. Living in Decatur, AL.
So many people were in Church that night. Many did not make it home.  Prayers that tonight and tomorrow are mild!

Offline stayrose38

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2024, 08:31:24 AM »
I still get night terrors about 4/27/2011 and no one in my family died. The entire day was just one long dragged out living waking nightmare. One small tornado hit less than a mile from my house... I listened to the radio all day into evening, as the power went out. Why I never root for severe weather anymore, even though I'm obsessed with weather, and learning about it, and also blizzards (which usually kill people too). Some slight hypocrisy there, I guess.
"When an infinitely small variation of the present state will alter only by an infinitely small quantity the state at some future time, the condition of the system, whether at rest or in motion, is said to be stable but when an infinitely small variation in the present state may bring about a finite difference in the state of the system in a finite time, the system is said to be unstable."
James Clerk Maxwell

Online StormNine

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2024, 02:37:28 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5orxm6fDKWQ&list=PL6gRgnNf7ghd6cNKgxq9Q52jOrwwB_lRv&ab_channel=mindlessgonzoALT

Some good radio coverage out of Louisville.

It just shows you how far things have come in 50 years.   

Online StormNine

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2024, 02:45:19 PM »
https://imageshack.com/i/izhook2bj

https://imageshack.com/i/2qap037412kbnag

https://imageshack.com/i/50wsr57cincyj

An image from our own Vandy Machine that was on a previous Super Outbreak thread. 

Offline Jilly

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Re: 50th Anniversary of Super Outbreak 1974
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2024, 04:05:37 PM »
The April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak - 50 years later

The 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes across the Eastern United States was a historic outbreak not soon to be forgotten.

NWS Nashville, TN

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e687937f0a074dad92a8423bd5b8889a
KR4EE

 

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