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24 June 2010

Georgia Tornadoes

The Glossary of Meteorology defines a tornado as "A violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground, either pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud."

Climate, weather, and specifically storms have an effect on our ancestors' lives. Below is a list of tornadoes that had an impact on areas of Georgia, oldest first.

  • 15-20 March 1875 at 12:40 PM - 25+ dead, 65+ injured - There seems to have been 3 tornadoes that touched down in several counties. Those mentioned in local newspapers: Baldwin, Bibb, Chattahoochee, Columbia, Glascock, Hancock, Harris, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, McDuffie, Monroe, Talbot, Twiggs, Upson, Warren, and Wilkinson. To read accounts of the destruction from the Atlanta Daily Constitution, click here.
  • February 1884 at 2:00 PM - 22 dead, 100 injured - Most deaths occurred south of Jasper, Pickens County, near Cagle and Tate. Large homes were swept away.
  • 1 June 1903 at 12:45 PM - 98 dead, 180 injured - Gainsville Cotton Mill and nearby village in Hall County affected. One of the 25 deadliest in US history.
  • 23-24 April 1908 - Sixteen killer tornadoes struck from Texas to Georgia, resulting in 320 deaths. It became known as the Dixie Outbreak. At one point, a single tornado was 2 miles wide. Atlanta, Rome affected.
  • 28 March 1920 at 5:45 PM - 27 dead, 100 injured - LaGrange and Troup counties affected.
  • 10 February 1921 at 12:30 PM - 31 dead, 100 injured - An entire section of a lumber mill village of Gardner, Washington County literally vanished.
  • 25 April 1929 at 10:00 PM - 40 dead, 300 injured - Bulloch County, just north of Statesboro affected.
  • 21-22 March 1932 - Ten violent tornadoes smashed through Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, costing 330 lives.
  • 2 April 1936 at 7:30 PM - 23 dead, 500 injured - Cordele, Crisp County affected.
  • 6 April 1936 at 8:27 AM - 203 dead, 1600 injured - Gainesville, Hall County affected. One of the 25 deadliest in US history. J. S. Pope, assistant managing editor of The Atlanta Journal, wrote the most comprehensive outline of the path of the storm for the 7 April 1936 issue: "The tornado started at the foot of West Washington street, and swished through the narrow valley that lies between Washington and West Broad. Nothing was left standing in that area. Broad river was the southeastern boundary of the destruction until the old Gainesville Midland depot was reached. There the path flared suddenly across the heart of the business district. The courthouse and city hall left but little for the wreckers to move away. At this point the path of the tornado was marked by Brenau avenue and Church street, though no damage occurred outside this range. At South Green street, as though deflected by the new federal building, the twister veered eastward and rode across the residential section lying between Spring and Summit streets. From the high ground by the razed courthouse the prospect toward New Holland was one of contorted wreckage with hardly a wall left standing. This course was maintained past New Holland."
  • 30 April 1953 at 5:10 PM - 19 dead, 300 injured - Warner Robins, Houston County and Dry Branch, Twiggs County affected. A tornado touched down on South Pleasant Hill Road and South Davis Drive, as well as cut a path across Warner Robins Air Force Base (in Houston County), before crossing the Ocmulgee River and into Dry Branch in Twiggs County. Eighteen people were killed and hundreds were injured in Warner Robins.
  • 13 March 1954 at 10:00 PM - 5 dead, 75 injured - Roberta, Knoxville, Lizella, Macon affected.
  • 25 December 1964 at 11:59 PM - 2 dead, 16 injured - Jones County affected.
  • 3 April 1974 at 6:40 PM - 9 dead, 54 injured - Homes were leveled at Sugar Alley and the northwest edge of Resaca; 7 died in the Sugar Hill area.
  • 3 April 1974 at 7:30 PM - 6 dead, 30 injured - Ball Ground, Yellow Creek, Juno affected.
  • 18 February 1975 at 3:08 PM - 2 dead, 50 injured - Peach County affected: a tornado came down the center of Main Street in Fort Valley, ripping the fronts off most of the buildings.
  • 24 March 1975 at 6:28 AM - 3 dead, 152 injured - Atlanta affected.
  • 8 November 1989 at 4:35 PM - 1 dead, 8 injured - Wilcox County affected.
  • 27-28 March 1994 - Afternoon and evening tornadoes ravage Georgia and Carolina, killing 42 and injuring 320.
  • 20 March 1998 at 6:20 AM - 12 dead, 171 injured - Hall County affected.
  • 9 April 1998 at 5:35 AM - 4 dead, 31 injured - Rye Path, Long County and Fort Stewart affected.
  • 13 February 2000 at 11:09 PM - 11 dead, 100 injured - Camilla affected.
  • 14 February 2000 - 6 dead, 30 injured - Meigs affected.

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