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List of tornadoes striking downtown areas: Map

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This article is a list of tornadoes that have impacted the central business district (downtown) of a large city.

It is a common - and definitely false - myth that tornadoes do not strike downtown areas. The odds are much lower due to the small areas covered, but paths can go anywhere - including over downtown areas. St. Louismarker, Missourimarker has taken a direct hit four times in less than a century and Windsor, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker was also struck four times in 70 years. Many of the tornadoes listed were extremely destructive or caused numerous casualties, and the occurrence of a catastrophic event somewhere is inevitable.

It should also be noted that this list is not exhaustive (listing every single tornado that has struck a downtown area or central business district of any city), as it may never be known if a tornado struck a downtown area, or if it was just a microburst (powerful downward gust of wind, which cause much of their damage from straight-line winds), particularly for older events or from areas with limited information. Downbursts often accompany intense tornadoes, extending damage across a wider area than the tornado path. When a tornado strikes a city, it is occasionally very difficult to determine whether it was a tornadic event at all or if the affected area was indeed the "downtown" or "central business district", as opposed to other heavily urbanized/built-up parts of the city or suburbs. It is sometimes also difficult to determine tornadoes that strike urban cores before 1950, when tornado records (particularly in the US) started to be consistently logged with detail. Before this, lack of details on information from the events, as well as that most cities were far smaller in area and population complicates the record.

For the list of cities that are not listed here for certain reasons, see below.

North America

North America

Note: The F-Scale was superseded by the EF scale in the U.S.marker in 2007

For tornadoes and cities in: United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, Mexicomarker, Bahamasmarker, Cubamarker, Central America, and The Caribbeanmarker
F#/EF# City Date Deaths Event
F3 St. Louis, Missourimarker March 8, 1871 9 1871 St. Louis tornado
F3 Chicago, Illinoismarker May 6, 1876 2
F2 Kansas City, Missourimarker May 13, 1883 3
F2 Washington, D.C.marker September 16, 1888 0
F2 St. Louis, Missourimarker January 12, 1890 4
F4 Louisville, Kentuckymarker March 27, 1890 76 March 1890 Mid-Mississippi Valley tornado outbreak
F2 Dallas, Texasmarker January 20, 1894 1
F4 St. Louis, Missourimarker May 27, 1896 255 St. Louis-East St. Louis tornado
F3 St. Catharinesmarker, Ontariomarker September 26, 1898 4 Merritton tornado
F4 Regina, Saskatchewanmarker June 30, 1912 28 Regina Cyclone
F4 Omaha, Nebraskamarker March 23, 1913 103 1913 Omaha Easter Sunday tornado
F3 Miami, Floridamarker April 5, 1925 5 1925 Miami tornado
F3 Indianapolis, Indianamarker May 18, 1927 2
F3 St. Louis, Missourimarker September 29, 1927 28 September 1927 St. Louis tornado outbreak
F3 Nashville, Tennesseemarker March 14, 1933 15 March 1933 Nashville tornado outbreak
F4 Greensboro, North Carolinamarker April 2, 1936 14 1936 Cordele-Greensboro tornado outbreak
F2 Charleston, South Carolinamarker September 29, 1938 27 Charleston, South Carolina tornadoes
F4 Windsor, Ontariomarker June 18, 1946 18 1946 Windsor-Tecumseh, Ontario tornado
F3 Richmond, Virginiamarker June 13, 1951 0 1951 Richmond, Virginia tornado
F5 Waco, Texasmarker May 11, 1953 114 1953 Waco tornado outbreak
F4 St. Louis, Missourimarker February 10, 1959 21 1959 St. Louis tornado outbreak
F5 Topeka, Kansasmarker June 8, 1966 12 1966 Topeka tornado
F3 Seattle, Washingtonmarker December 12, 1969 0
F5 Lubbock, Texasmarker May 11, 1970 28 Lubbock tornado
F3 Windsor, Ontariomarker April 3, 1974 8 Windsor Tornado of 1974 (Super Outbreak)
F4 Omaha, Nebraskamarker May 6, 1975 3 1975 Omaha tornado
F5 Birmingham, Alabamamarker April 4, 1977 22 April 1977 Birmingham tornado
F2 Shreveport, Louisianamarker April 17, 1978 0
F4 Bossier City, Louisianamarker December 3, 1978 2 Bossier City, Louisiana tornado
F3 Cheyenne, Wyomingmarker July 16, 1979 1 Cheyenne, Wyoming tornado
F3 Kalamazoo, Michiganmarker May 13, 1980 5 Kalamazoo Tornado of 1980
F2 Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker March 1, 1983 0 (30 injured)
F3 Denver, Coloradomarker June 15, 1988 0
F4 Huntsville, Alabamamarker November 15, 1989 21 November 1989 tornado outbreak
F2 Panama Citymarker, Panamamarker 1992 12 (50 injured) 1992 Panama City tornado
F4 Petersburg, Virginiamarker August 6, 1993 3 1993 Virginia tornado outbreak
F1 Houston, Texasmarker November 16, 1993 0 (26 injured)
F0 San Antonio, Texasmarker March 27, 1994 0
F1 Miami, Floridamarker May 12, 1997 0 1997 Miami tornado
F3 Detroit, Michiganmarker/Windsor, Ontariomarker July 2, 1997 7 Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak
F3 Nashville, Tennesseemarker April 16, 1998 1 1998 Nashville tornado outbreak
F0 Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker January 18, 1999 0
F3 Little Rock, Arkansasmarker January 21, 1999 2 January 1999 tornado outbreak sequence
F3 Clarksville, Tennesseemarker January 22, 1999 0 (5 injured) January 1999 tornado outbreak sequence
F1 Hull, Quebec (Gatineaumarker) May 8, 1999 0 (6 injured) List of 1999 Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak tornadoes
F2 Salt Lake City, Utahmarker August 11, 1999 1 Salt Lake City tornado
F3 Fort Worth, Texasmarker March 28, 2000 2 Fort Worth tornado
F2 Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker July 17, 2000 0 2000 Guelph tornadoes
F4 Jackson, Tennesseemarker May 4, 2003 11 2003 Jackson, TN Tornado #1
F0 Jacksonville, Floridamarker August 12, 2004 0 Tropical Storm Bonnie
F0 Louisville, Kentuckymarker April 22, 2005 0
F1 New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker February 2, 2006 0 Tornadoes_of_2006#February_2, also struck Louis Armstrong Airportmarker
F2 Iowa City, Iowamarker April 13, 2006 0 Easter Week 2006 Tornado Outbreak Sequence
EF2 New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker/Kennermarker, Louisianamarker February 12-13, 2007 1 Tornadoes_of_2007#February 12-13
EF0 St. Louis, Missourimarker March 31, 2007 0 Late-March 2007 tornado outbreak
EF1 Des Moines, Iowamarker October 2, 2007 0 Tornadoes_of_2007#October 2
EF1 Pensacola, Floridamarker October 18, 2007 0 Mid-October 2007 tornado outbreak
EF1 Springfield, Missourimarker January 8, 2008 0 January 2008 tornado outbreak sequence
EF2 Atlanta, Georgiamarker March 14, 2008 1 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak
EF1 Springfield, Missourimarker February 10, 2009 0 February 2009 tornado outbreak
EF2 Shreveport, Louisianamarker April 9, 2009 0 April 2009 tornado outbreak
EF2 Columbus, Georgiamarker April 19, 2009 0 April 2009 tornado outbreak
EF0 Minneapolis, Minnesotamarker August 19, 2009 0
EF2 Shreveport, Louisianamarker October 29, 2009 0


South America

South America has no default tornado strength measurement system, so the storms here will be listed using the Fujita Scale.

F# City Date Deaths Event
F5 Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker November 22, 1951 Unknown, 45 injured
F? Encarnaciónmarker, Paraguaymarker October 25, 1965 Unknown
F? Vichero, Uruguaymarker October 25, 1968 1, 12 injured
F3 Barranquillamarker, Colombiamarker September 15, 2006 0 Barranquilla, Colombia Tornado
F? Bogotámarker, Colombiamarker August 26, 2007 Unknown 2007 Bogotá Tornado


Europe

Europe

Note: The UKmarker uses the TORRO scale
T#/F# City Date Deaths Event
T8/F4 London, Englandmarker October 23, 1091 Unknown, destroyed London Bridgemarker London Tornado of 1091
F? Vyšehradmarker (now Praguemarker), Bohemia July 30, 1119 Unknown Vyšehrad Tornado of 1119
F1 Praguemarker, Bohemia April 8, 1255 Unknown Prague Tornado of 1255
F4 Valletta, Maltamarker September 23, 1551 (or 1556) 600 Valetta, Malta Tornado
F3 Utrecht, Netherlandsmarker August 1, 1674 Unknown Utrecht, Netherlands Tornado, damaged Dom Towermarker and Cathedral of St. Martinmarker
F5 Woldegkmarker, Germanymarker June 29, 1764 1
F5 Hainichenmarker, Germanymarker April 23, 1800 0
T8/F4 Portsmouth, Englandmarker December 14, 1810 Unknown Portsmouth UK Tornado
F5 Monville, France August 19, 1845
F3 Frankfurt, Germanymarker Summer of 1860 Unknown Frankfurt Tornado of 1860
F3 Madridmarker, Spainmarker May 12, 1886 45 dead The most catastrophic and deadliest tornado in Spain in the past 200 years but not the most powerful
F0 Munich, Germanymarker May 27, 1897 0 Munich Tornado of 1897
F4 Cologne, Germany August 7, 1898 3 Cologne Tornado of 1898
F4 Moscow, Russiamarker June 29, 1904 >10 Moscow tornado of 1904. The destroyed areas are within the city limits today, but were suburbs in 1904
F? Berlin, Germanymarker July 25, 1909 Unknown Berlin Tornado of 1909
F3 Chemnitz, Germanymarker May 27, 1916 0 Chemnitz Tornado of 1916
T5/F2 Düsseldorf, Germanymarker June 8, 1924 2 Düsseldorf Tornado of 1924
F4 Needemarker-Berkellandmarker, Netherlandsmarker June 1, 1927
F5 Udine, Italymarker July 24, 1930 23 Po - Udine, Italy Tornado
F3-F4 Lublinmarker, Polandmarker July 20, 1931 3 dead (1 in Lublinmarker, 2 behind Lublinmarker), dozen injured Lublin Tornado of 1931
F4 Düsseldorf, Germanymarker January 10, 1936 2 Düsseldorf Tornado of 1936
F4 Borzymmen (Borzymy), Mazury, Polandmarker July 15, 1940
F4 Klodzkomarker-Slaskiemarker, Polandmarker August 20, 1946
F2 Hannover, Germanymarker September 15, 1950 0 Hannover Tornado of 1950
F3 Castelo Branco, Portugalmarker November 6, 1954 5 dead 220 injured Tornadoes in Portugal
F0 Magdeburg, Germanymarker July 25, 1955 0 Magdeburg Tornado of 1955
F1 Düsseldorf, Germanymarker October 6, 1955 Unknown Düsseldorf Tornado of 1955
F1 Szczecin, Polandmarker August 25, 1956 0 Szczecin Tornado of 1956
F4 Robecco Pavesemarker, Valle Scuropasso, Italymarker June 16, 1957
F3 Garacmarker, Francemarker May 18, 1960 No dead and no injured The Garac tornado is the most powerful tornado that Southwestern France has ever seen in the past 50 years.
F5 Niechórz, Polandmarker May 20, 1960 3, 77 injured
F1 Perm, Russiamarker June 17, 1960 Unknown Perm Tornado of 1960
F1 Voronezhmarker, Russiamarker August 14, 1961 Unknown Voronezh Tornado of 1961
F5 Palluel, France June 24. 1967
F5 Venice, Italymarker September 11, 1970 30 Venice Tornado of 1970
F3 Nizhni Novgorod, Russiamarker July 3, 1974 Unknown Nizhni Novgorod Tornado of 1974
F5 Ivanovo, Russiamarker 9 June 1984 More 400 deaths in the outbreak Tornado outbreak of the 9 June 1984
F3 Beja, Portugalmarker September 20, 1987 7 injured Tornadoes in Portugal
F3 Mangualdemarker, Portugalmarker December 16, 1989 Unknown Tornadoes in Portugal
F2 Duisburgmarker, Oberhausenmarker, Germanymarker July 18, 2004 6 injured
T4/F2 Birminghammarker, United Kingdommarker July 28, 2005 0 Killed 30 injured Birmingham Tornado
F2 Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker March 27, 2006
T4/F2 Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker December 7, 2006 0 London Tornado of 2006
F2 Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhaltmarker, Germanymarker January 18, 2007 Unknown Kyrill
F3 Brandenburgmarker, Germanymarker-Brachwitzmarker, Germanymarker January 18, 2007 Unknown Kyrill
F3 Lauchhammermarker, Brandenburgmarker, Germanymarker January 18, 2007 Unknown Kyrill
F2 Frankfurtmarker, Hessemarker, Germanymarker June 25, 2007 Unknown Oberad Tornado of 2007
T4/F2 Malaga, Spainmarker February 1, 2009 0 Malaga Tornado of 2009


Africa

Africa has no default tornado strength measurement system, so the storms here will be listed using the Fujita Scale.

F# City Date Deaths Event
F? Highveldmarker, South Africa (Johannesburgmarker & Pretoriamarker) November 26, 1948 6 Johannesburgmarker - Pretoriamarker Tornado
F4 Karoo, South Africa (Trompsburg, South Africa) November 26, 1948 5+ Trompsburg, South Africa Tornado
F? Albertynesville, South Africa November 30, 1952 20 Albertynesville, South Africa Tornado
F2 Paynesville, South Africa December 2, 1952 11 Paynesville, South Africa Tornado
F3 Senekal, South Africa September 15, 1988 2 Senekal, South Africa Tornado
F3 Mtata, South Africa December 15, 1998 15 Mtata, South Africa Tornado
F4 Mount Ayliff, South Africa January 18, 1999 25 Mount Ayliff, South Africa Tornado Outbreak
F3 Heidelberg, Gautengmarker, South Africa October 21, 1999 0 Heidelberg, South Africa Tornado Outbreak
F3 Mpumalangamarker, South Africa September 9, 2002 2 Mpumalanga, South Africa Tornado Outbreak
F3 Klerksdorpmarker, South Africa March 3, 2007 1, 350 injured Klerksdorp, South Africa Tornado
F4 Bebejiamarker, Logone Oriental Prefecture, Chadmarker May 9, 2007 14, town was destroyed Bebejia, Chad Tornado


Asia

Most of Asia has no default tornado strength measurement system (though Japanmarker has been known to use the Fujita Scale in the past), so the storms here will be listed using the Fujita Scale.

F# City Date Deaths Event
F? Miyazaki, Miyazaki Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker September 26, 1881 16 Miyazaki Tornado of 1881
F? Dhakamarker, Bangladeshmarker April 7, 1888 184 dead, 1200 injured
F? Yodobashi City, Shinjuku, Tokyomarker, Japanmarker September 23, 1903 10, 14 injured
F? Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker November 28, 1941 12 dead, 177 injured, 347 homes destroyed
F? Tomiye City, Nagasaki Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker November 10, 1957 8
F? Tokyomarker, Japanmarker May 24, 1964 480 homes damaged
F? New Delhimarker, Indiamarker March 17-18, 1978 28 dead, 700 injured New Delhi Tornado
F? Barisal Division, Bangladeshmarker April 26, 1989 1300+ Daultipur-Salturia, Bangladesh Tornado
F4 Mobara, Chiba, Chiba Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker December 11, 1990 0, 78 injured, 1000 homes damaged Mobara Tornado
F? Shanghai, People's Republic of Chinamarker August 11, 1995 4
F? Dhaka Division, Bangladeshmarker May 13, 1996 700+ Jamalpur-Tangail Districts, Bangladesh Tornado
F3 Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker September 24, 1999 4 Toyohashi City, Japan Tornadoes
F? Tokyomarker, Japanmarker September 12, 2000 0, several homes damaged
F3 Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecturemarker on Kyūshūmarker, Japanmarker September 18, 2006 3 Nobeoka, Miyazaki Tornado


Notable absences

The 1985 Barrie Tornado that struck Barriemarker, Ontariomarker would be listed here, had it struck today. It is not listed, however, since the town's population was under 50,000 at the time (May 31, 1985). Similarly, the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak that spawned the deadly F5 tornado which struck Mooremarker, Midwest Citymarker, and Oklahoma Citymarker is not listed, since those cities had under 50,000 in population as well, and did not reach the downtown core of Oklahoma City. But today, Moore and Midwest City have well over 50,000 people.

Similarly, the downtown areas of two then-small towns (now large cities) were struck during the 1884 Enigma outbreak: Concord, NCmarker and Cary, NCmarker. Downtown Concord was struck a second time by a tornado in May 1936.,,

The 1987 Edmonton Tornado is likewise not listed because it struck industrial parks, trailer parks, and suburban areas, and was far away from Edmontonmarker's downtown core, although the Edmonton area has roughly 1.1 million people. The "Oak Lawn tornado" of April 21, 1967 which killed 33 people, mostly those in rush hour traffic at a busy intersection, and moved across southern Chicagomarker onto Lake Michiganmarker is not included because it missed the downtown core. Most recently, the 2008 Memphis tornado on February 5, 2008 also missed the downtown area (by a significant distance).

Another notable absence is the July 7, 1915 storm that struck Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, killing 38 people. This was determined to be most likely a windstorm causing downbursts or even a series of microbursts (with much of the damage coming from the straight-line winds), and not a tornado.

European tornadoes that are listed before 1950 are for cities that had at least 50,000 people in them at the time. Tornadoes dating back to 1054 are confirmed, due to extensive record-keeping for many weather events and other until-then unexplained weather occurrences.

See also



References

  1. Chicago Area Significant Tornadoes
  2. http://www.intellicast.com/Almanac/Central/March/
  3. Syracuse Herald, Syracuse New York. April 3, 1936
  4. VAEmergency.com > Newsroom & Archives > Virginia Tornado History
  5. Downtown Tornadoes
  6. Gary Hart, The Los Angeles, California, Tornado of March 1, 1983, National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Natural Disasters, National Research Council (U.S.)
  7. Panama City Tornado of 1992
  8. NWS Houston/Galveston | Severe Weather Awareness Week | Tornadoes
  9. Tornado History Project - Tornado Map
  10. Tornado History Project - Tornado Map
  11. Survey of the Clarksville Tornado of January 22, 1999
  12. Six injured in Hull tornado
  13. July 17th
  14. Howell, Jonathan L., Gregory R. Garrett, Scott J. McNeil, and Daniel N. Valle. "Memphis National Weather Service Perspective of the Severe Weather Outbreak of May 4, 2003".[1]
  15. NWS SGF Jan 08 2008 Tornadoes
  16. ...EF - 1 Tornado Damages Portions of Springfield...
  17. Public Information Statement
  18. Shreveport area still recovering from tornado
  19. Public Information Statement
  20. Storm causes damage to CSU's downtown campus
  21. http://20lecie.blogspot.com/2008/09/trba-powietrzna-w-lublinie.html
  22. http://www.wrc.org.za/archives/watersa%20archive/2000/July/1263.pdf
  23. IOL: Tornado rips through Klerksdorp suburbs
  24. Japanese Tornadoes: Not As Uncommon As Believed
  25. Bangladesh and East India Tornado Prediction Site
  26. New York Times, New York. February 21, 1884
  27. Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana. February 22 1884
  28. Finley, John P. Tornadoes: What They Are and How To Observe Them; With Practical Suggestions For The Protection of Life and Property, pages 98-103. The Insurance Monitor, New York, NY, 1887
  29. 1915: Cincinnati's Deadliest Winds


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