Alabama SKYWARN Foundation, Inc.

Board of Directors  
Brian E. Peters, President   
Guy M. McCullough, Vice President   
Charles M. Arthur, Secretary/Treasurer   

Foundation logo



Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

Lists of Alabama Tornadoes, 1950 to 2003

25 Deadliest Tornadoes | 10 Highest Years | 25 Longest Tracks

25 Deadliest Tornadoes in Alabama
Since 1880

Ranking Based on Number of Deaths

This table lists the top 25 tornadoes ranked in order based on the number of deaths that occurred in Alabama. Several of the tornadoes noted crossed state lines; in those cases, the number of deaths refers to the number that occurred in Alabama. Under "Counties Affected", the number in brackets is the number of deaths in the other state.

                      #   #   width length   F-
#     Date     time dead inj  yards miles  Scale   Counties Affected
1  3/21/1932   1630  49  150   800    60     F4   PERRY/BIBB/CHILTON/SHELBY/COOSA
2  4/20/1920   0800  44  700   900   130     F4   OKTIBBEHA/CLAY/MONROE/ITAWAMBA MS [44]/
                                                  MARION/FRANKLIN/COLBERT/LAWRENCE, AL
3  3/21/1932   1910  41  325   400    25     F4   TALLADEGA
4  3/21/1932   2000  38  500   400    75     F4   MORGAN/MADISON/JACKSON, AL [38]/MARION, TN [0]
5  3/21/1932   1600  37  200   400    20     F4   TUSCALOOSA
6  1/22/1904   0020  36  150   300    15     F4   HALE/TUSCALOOSA
7  4/08/1998   1952  32  256   880    31     F5   TUSCALOOSA/JEFFERSON
8  3/21/1932   1730  31  200   800    50     F4   PERRY/CHILTON /COOSA
9  4/3/1974    1750  28  260   unk    51     F5   LAWRENCE/MORGAN/LIMESTONE/MADISON
10 3/21/1913   0430  27   60   400    13     F4   CLARKE/WILCOX
10 4/20/1920   1230  27  100   400    20     F4   MADISON
10 5/27/1917   2045  27  100   800    25     F4   JEFFERSON /BLOUNT
13 5/12/1945   1722  26  293   100    13     F3   MONTGOMERY
13 5/19/1884   1430  26  100   400    35     F4   CALHOUN /CHEROKEE, AL [26]/FLOYD, GA [4]
15 4/15/1956   1500  25  200   300    20     F4   JEFFERSON
16 4/4/1977    1500  22  130   500    15     F5   JEFFERSON
16 3/27/1994   1055  22  130   880    53     F4   ST. CLAIR/CALHOUN/CHEROKEE,AL [22]/POLK, GA [0]
18 4/20/1920   1000  21   50   400    50     F4   FAYETTE/WALKER/WINSTON/CULLMAN/MORGAN
18 11/15/1989  1630  21  463   800    19     F4   MADISON
18 4/5/1933    0230  21  200   500    35     F4   BIBB/SHELBY
21 4/3/1974    1950  20  280   900   102     F5   MONROE,MS[10]/MARION/WINSTON/LAWRENCE/MORGAN,AL[20]
22 4/8/1903    0130  19  100   100    20     F4   CULLMAN /BLOUNT
22 3/28/1920   1445  19  125   400    50     F4   ELMORE/TALLAPOOSA/CHAMBERS,AL[19]/TROUP,GA [7]
24 10/25/1925  0200  18   60   300    65     F4   CRENSHAW/PIKE/BULLOCK/BARBOUR
24 3/21/1932   1630  18  100   600    25     F4   CULLMAN/MORGAN/MARSHALL
26 3/25/1901   0945  17  100    50    15     F3   JEFFERSON

Note: Tornado statistics prior to 1950 are based largely on historical research; after 1950, the National Weather Service began a stronger effort to collect and document the effects of tornadoes and other types of severe weather.


10 Highest Years
of Tornado Deaths Since 1950

This table shows the ten years with the highest number of tornado deaths. There are actually thirteen years on the list since seven deaths were reported in each of the years of 1995 and 1996 and 10 deaths in 1957 and 1973.

Interestingly, the years of 1989 (6th) and 1994 (5th) had a large number of deaths, but in each of those years, all of the tornado deaths were attributed to one tornado. In 1989 it was the Huntsville tornado on November 15, 1989, and in 1994, it was the Piedmont/Goshen tornado on March 27, 1994.

                           Number of   # of     # of
          Ranking   Year   Tornadoes  Deaths  Injuries
             1      1974      39        79      950
             2      1998      50        34      256
             3      1956       5        25      208
             4      1977      21        23      144
             5      1994      19        22      264
             6      1989      23        21      478
             7      1953      22        16      258
             8 (tie)2000      43        13      146
                    2002      25        13      100
             9      1964      26        12       31
            10 (tie)1957      45        10      192
                    1973      45        10      408

Please note that this list is based on tornado statistics since 1950. Data prior to 1950 is based largely on historical research; after 1950, the National Weather Service (formerly the Weather Bureau) placed more emphasis on collecting and documenting information about tornadoes and other types of severe weather.



25 Longest Tornado Tracks
In Alabama Since 1880

                        Width Length F-
 Date       Time  Dead  Inj  yards miles Scale   Counties Affected

5/27/1973   1720    7   208   800   135   F4   HALE/PERRY/BIBB/SHELBY/TALLADEGA
4/20/1920   0800   44   700   900   130   F4   OKTIBBEHA/CLAY/MONROE/ITAWAMBA,MS [44]
                                               /MARION/FRANKLIN/COLBERT/LAWRENCE, AL [44]
4/24/1908   1440         35   188   105   F4   WALKER/JEFFERSON/BLOUNT/MARSHALL/DEKALB
4/3/1974    1935    3   178   500   103   F4   PICKENS/TUSCALOOSA/FAYETTE/WALKER/CULLMAN
4/3/1974    1950   20   280   900   102   F5   MONROE, MS [10]/MARION/WINSTON/LAWRENCE/MORGAN,AL [20]
3/28/1902   1530    2    30    70    90   F2   CALHOUN/PONTOTOC/LEE/ITAWAMBA, MS /FRANKLIN, AL
1/11/1885   1830    2    20   400    80   F4   GREENE/HALE/BIBB/CHILTON
3/21/1932   2000   38   500   400    75   F4   MORGAN/MADISON/JACKSON, AL [38]/MARION, TN [0]
11/10/2002  2015    7    53  1100    73   F3   FAYETTE/WALKER/WINSTON/CULLMAN
11/3/1968   1755    0    18   200    70   F2   MOBILE/BALDWIN, AL/ESCAMBIA, FL/ESCAMBIA, AL
10/25/1925  0200   18    60   300    65   F4   CRENSHAW/PIKE/BULLOCK/BARBOUR
4/3/1974    1650    1    20   200    65   F2   CLEBURNE, AL/HARALSON/PAULDING/COBB/BARTOW/CHEROKEE,GA
3/21/1932   1630   49   150   800    60   F4   PERRY/BIBB/CHILTON/SHELBY/COOSA
1/11/1885   2115    2    20   600    60   F3   COOSA/CLAY/RANDOLPH
3/3/1966    1930    1    27   150    55   F2   PICKENS/TUSCALOOSA
4/8/1957    0946    0     5          55   F3   MARION/WINSTON/LAWRENCE
3/5/1989    1940    1     6   150    53   F2   CHAMBERS/RANDOLPH, AL/HEARD/COWETA, GA
2/19/1938   1900    1     0    30    53   Fl   CRENSHAW
3/27/1994   1055   22   130   880    53   F4   ST. CLAIR/CALHOUN/CHEROKEE,AL [22]/POLK, GA [0]
4/3/1974    1750   28   260          51   F5   LAWRENCE/MORGAN/LIMESTONE/MADISON
12/5/1954   1300    0    17   100    50   F2   LEE, AL/MERIWETHER, GA
3/21/1932   1730   31   200   800    50   F4   PERRY/CHILTON/COOSA
4/5/1936    2215    5    13   200    50   F3   LAUDERDALE/LIMESTONE/MADISON, AL/LINCOLN, TN
4/20/1920   1000   21    50   400    50   F4   FAYETTE/WALKER/WINSTON/CULLMAN/MORGAN
5/27/1973   1750    1    76   400    50   F3   JEFFERSON/ST.CLAIR/ETOWAH
3/28/1920   1445   19   125   400    50   F4   ELMORE/TALLAPOOSA/CHAMBERS, AL [19]/TROUP, GA [7]
4/3/1974    1825   16   250   500    50   F4   LIMESTONE/MADISON, AL [16]/LINCOLN, TN [6]

Note: Today, with the benefit of aerial surveys, it is generally believed that tornado lifetimes generate path lengths with a maximum of 75 to 80 miles. This is due to the dynamic structure of supercell-type thunderstorms, and the general belief that tornadoes occur in families with each damage path ranging from 20 to 75 miles or so. Much of the information presented here comes from historical research, so path lengths are estimated from narrative accounts without the benefit of the aerial survey often made today.




Other Alabama Tornado Statistics

Alabama Tornadoes in 2003
By Month | By Hour | By Fujita Scale| By County

General Statistics about Alabama Tornadoes Since 1950
General Statistics | Tornadoes by Year
Tornadoes by Month | Tornadoes by Hour | Tornadoes by County

Alabama Tornado Records
Top 25 Tornadoes by Death, 10 Highest Years, 25 Longest Tracks
Tornadoes by State | Tornado Deaths by State