Tri-State Tornado Facts and Information

Tri-State Tornado Historical Marker The Tri-State Tornado occurred during a major outbreak of tornadoes on March 18th, 1925. This was the deadliest tornado in the history of the United States and holds many other infamous records. While this tornado was not rated most tornado experts agree this was an F5 tornado on the original Fujita scale. There is debate on whether this was a single tornado or a series of tornadoes that cause the damaged and an extensive research project in 2013 found no definitive resolution on the debate. There is no single factor that can account for the abnormally long path and duration of this tornado at this time.

Choose a section below to view tri-state tornado facts and information:

General Tri-State Tornado Facts

Note: The facts and information below could change in the future due to new scientific evidence, if you know of inaccuracies below please contact us and let us know.

  • The Tri-State Tornado occurred on Wednesday, March 18th in 1925.
  • The damage was estimated at $16.5M and in 2011 adjusted dollars that is approximately $1.4B.
  • Three states were affected by the Tri-State Tornado: Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
  • Thirteen counties in three states were affected. In Illinois Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, White and Williamson counties were affected. In Indiana Gibson, Pike and Posey counties were affect. In Missouri Bollinger, Iron, Madison, Perry and Reynolds counties were affected.
  • The path of the Tri-State Tornado was 235 miles with an average width of 3600 feet, however there were moments when the width reached over 1 mile wide.
  • The Tri-State Tornado lasted for 3 1/2 hours, starting down at 1:01pm 3 miles NNW of Ellington, MO and dissipating at 4:30pm 3 miles SW of Petersburg, IN.
  • Average forward speed of this tornado was 62 miles-per-hour with a record setting speed of 73 miles-per-hour at one point.
  • The Tri-State Tornado was a F5 on the Fujita Scale with winds reaching near 300 miles-per-hour.
  • 695 deaths and 2,027 injuries are associated with the Tri-State Tornado.
  • Illinois had the largest loss of life with 613 deaths and still stands as the record for the largest death toll within a tornadic event in a single U.S. state.
  • 164 square miles were devastated by the Tri-State Tornado.
  • 15,000 homes across three states were severely damaged or destroyed.
  • 9 schools across the three affected states were destroyed and killed 69 students.
  • The Tri-State Tornado was part of a deadly outbreak that produced several deadly tornadoes all on the same day. A total of 747 facilities and 2,298 injuries were reported, with the majority associated with the Tri-State Tornado.

Tri-State Tornado Records

Note: These records are valid as of 02/01/2015, please contact us with any inaccuracies.

  • The deadliest tornado in U.S. history with 695 deaths; twice as high as the 2nd deadliest tornado.
  • The 2nd deadliest tornado in world history.
  • The deadliest tornado in Illinois history with 613 deaths.
  • The deadliest tornado in Indiana history with 71 deaths.
  • The 5th costliest tornado in U.S. history.
  • The longest lasting tornado in world history.
  • The greatest distance traveled for a tornado in world history.
  • The longest damage path for a tornado at 151 to 235 miles.
  • The highest forward speed at 73 miles-per-hour.

Tri-State Tornado Pictures

These are pictures of damage that was verified to be caused by the Tri-State Tornado. It's possible that some of the pictures might be from the tornado outbreak that created the Tri-State Tornado, but not actually caused by it. Please contact us with any inaccuracies with the below pictures or to submit new damage pictures.

Aerial view of the damage in Murphysboro, Illinois

Aerial view of the damage in Murphysboro, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage in Annapolis, Missouri

Damage in Annapolis, Missouri
Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Train boxcars tossed around like toys in Gorham, Illinois

Train boxcars tossed around like toys in Gorham, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage in De Soto, Illinois">Damage in De Soto, Illinois

Damage in De Soto, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage in Gorham, Illinois

Damage in Gorham, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage in Griffin, Indiana

Damage in Griffin, Indiana Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Photo of inch board driven into a wooden plank

Photo of inch board driven into a wooden plank Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage to lead mines in Leadanna, Missouri

Damage to lead mines in Leadanna, Missouri
Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage to Longfellow School in Murphysboro, Illinois

Damage to Longfellow School in Murphysboro, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Photo of a destoryed Ford Model T vehicle

Photo of a destoryed Ford Model T vehicle Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Damage to West Frankfort, Illinois

Damage to West Frankfort, Illinois Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Durham family home destoryed

Durham family home destoryed Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Brown family home destroyed

Brown family home destroyed Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Holmes family home destoryed

Holmes family home destoryed Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

Visual graph of the Tri-State Tornado damage path

Visual graph of the Tri-State Tornado damage path Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List

1971 Tri-State Tornado damage path by John Wilson & Stanley Changon Jr

1971 Tri-State Tornado damage path by John Wilson and Stanley Changon Jr Back to Tri State Tornado Pictures List