Four Years Later: Remembering America’s Largest Tornado Outbreak
The date April 27th, 2011 will always be remembered by residents of many Southeastern states, particularly in hardest-hit Alabama. Four years ago, the largest recorded tornado outbreak in U.S. history claimed over 300 lives and caused billions of dollars worth of damage, leaving a permanent physical and psychological scar for many across the Southeast.
The four-day outbreak peaked on April 27th but also featured numerous tornadoes the two days prior and the day after, but it was on April 27th where an astonishing 211 tornadoes – nearly double the second-highest recorded tornado day – touched the ground, including over a dozen EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes that mostly ripped through Mississippi and Alabama but impacted nearly every state in the eastern half of the country.
Over 200 Alabamians lost their lives on April 27th, when massive tornadoes leveled parts of Tuscaloosa, Cullman and Hackleburg. Wind speeds in the EF-5 Hackleburg (Marion County) tornado were estimated at over 200 miles an hour.
April 27th – particularly for those in Alabama – is no longer just a day; rather, the simple mention of that date elicits the pain and suffering of so many from America’s greatest one-day tornado outbreak.
Our thoughts are with those impacted and with the memories of those lost on that tragic day.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi