Anniversary of the April 3rd, 1974 Super Outbreak

April 3rd, 2013 at 4:43 pm by under Weather


Super Outbreak Tornado Track Map, courtesy University of Chicago.

Super Outbreak Tornado Track Map, courtesy University of Chicago.

Today is the anniversary of the April 3rd, 1974 Super Outbreak.  The Super Outbreak is the 2nd largest tornado outbreak on record for a single 24-hour period, second to the  April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak.  With 30 F4/F5 tornadoes reported, it was also the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded. From April 3 to April 4, 1974, there were 148 tornadoes.


Tornado damage path during the 1974 Super Outbreak, courtesy the NWS of Northern Indiana.

Tornado damage path during the 1974 Super Outbreak, courtesy the NWS of Northern Indiana.

The Monticello tornado had the longest damage path of any tornado of the 1974 Super Outbreak.   This F-4 tornado was a half wide and was on the ground for 260 miles.

This is a very good reminder that we can have not only tornadoes this early in the spring in Northern Indiana, but also strong and violent tornadoes.  During this outbreak of tornadoes, 47 Hoosiers died,  18 of which were killed (including five from Fort Wayne) when their mini-bus fell 50 feet (15 m) into the Tippecanoe River near Monticello.

This is a perfect example that tornadoes can move over rivers and valleys, debunking the old myth that “your are safe from a tornado if you live by a river.”‘

Here are several links about the 1974 Super Outbreak:

Damage photos from Lake Country

The Monticello Tornado from the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana

Super Outbreak from Wikipedia.

9 Responses to “Anniversary of the April 3rd, 1974 Super Outbreak”

  1. Mike says:

    It may have been 39 yrs ago when I was in middle school at Rome City when this happened almost to the hour when the tornado went through Sylvan Lake in Rome City. We lived at one end of the lake and the tornado destroyed the other end of the lake where 5 people were killed on Boy Scout Island. Some days you never forget no matter how long ago it was.

  2. Sorry but no one was killed on boy scout island and there were only 3 killed. A mom and her child in the mobile home park by the golf course and one on the island by Brady’s landing. It was in the early evening and nothing was going on at the school so you should have been home. My mom worked at the Rome City school and we lived on the north shore of sylvan lake and experienced this as well. I did the clean up of the fields and knew those who lost their home but not their lives. Get it right.

    1. Jonathan Conder says:

      Even though I encourage comments on the weather blog, I also expect courtesy and respect. Instead of telling the other person to “Get it right,” how about saying, “that’s the way I remember it and I don’t remember any loss of life.”

  3. No disrespect but you did say 5 people killed on boy scout island so all of a sudden you say don’t remember anyone killed? I will always remember going through those field picking up jewelry, pictures, canned food, clothing. Tonight is the first thunderstorm for where I live and it brought up those April memories. 3 wonderful Rome City residents that are no longer here due to that tornado. That is how I remember it……

    1. Jonathan Conder says:

      Actually, I never said anything about anyone dieing on boy scout island. That was a viewer comment. Go back and take a closer look at the blog, what I posted in the original blog post and then “Mikes” comment. Again, I was not there and I am only saddened there was any loss of life. Hopefully if this ever happens again, our tools and warning process will prevent any loss of life in the future.

  4. Sorry you are correct it was Mike, I apologize. Not use to commenting on a blog as you can tell but that tornado left a big mark on a lot of us who experienced it, not you of course. Those who lived there and dealt with the clean up and loss of life, you can’t even imagine. Unfortunately, there is not much on those lives lost on that day. Guess it was not as newsworthy. Are you the news / weatherman? Why would you even comment that you didn’t know lives were lost without doing your research? That is really ashame.

    1. Jonathan Conder says:

      First off, yes, I am a meteorologist. Second, I did my research, but only covered a few key points, not very part of that historic event. That is why I posted links so other followers could learn more. Third, I am not ashamed of anything as I am proud of the content provided in our WANE weather blog. Actually, I feel your are commenting just to be combative or argumentative and there is really nothing to debate here.

  5. Sorry you feel that way guess just doing your job. Just very passionate about this topic. you news folks really need to get it right or just don’t talk about it. Again, no one reports anything about that day with real knowledge, such a shame. They just bring it up because it is news worthy for a moment on a blog with two of us and you responding. I sorry you feel that I am combative but yes I can be argumentative since I was there and know more facts. Good luck in your future endevores….

    1. Jonathan Conder says:

      What did I get wrong? Nothing. If anything, if you read the blog post, I was drawing attention to the fact that we can have significant severe weather this early in the year. If anything, I educated a few people and prepared them for what is possible in the next week, next month or next year.