locomusic01

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Man, the more research I do the more convinced I become that June 11-13, 1899 was a legit outbreak sequence. Not, like, dozens and dozens of tornadoes or anything, but substantially more than have made it into the official record. On 6/11, the first in what was likely a family of tornadoes caused major damage to a few farms near Hubbard, NE. It seems to have traveled ~6-7 miles or so before cycling, at which point it produced the Homer-Salix F4. That tornado moved almost due east through most of its path before dipping more east-southeast just outside of Salix. It then appears to have rapidly occluded south of town, producing a second tornado while the first was still recurving sharply northeastward.

FTLb229.png


I'm still working on the other paths from this family, but multiple eyewitnesses in Salix reported seeing the storm "split," with the original tornado turning up toward Luton and another continuing toward the southeast. There were at least spotty reports of significant damage from north of Sloan almost to Mapleton, which is ~20 miles or so. Not sure if I'll be able to sort out tornadic vs. straight-line damage, but I'm fairly confident it was some combination of the two. There may have been tornadoes near Emerson, NE; Sergeant Bluff, IA; Whiting, IA and Ono/Rock Elm, WI on the 11th as well but I'm not as sure about them yet.

On the 12th, there were the tornadoes I've already mentioned before (the New Richmond family + Little Carnelian Lake, Lake Elmo & Hastings, MN) plus possibly a couple others that I'm still working on, including a final tornado in the New Richmond family that reportedly leveled homes and businesses around Barron and Cameron, WI. And then on the 13th there was obviously the extremely intense Herman, NE F4, but also others near Rodman, IA; Swea City, IA; Carson, IA and Nebraska City, NE. There were apparently tornadoes in Omro, WI and Cartersville, IL on the 14th as well.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were more out there as well. Telegraph lines were down across a huge area and the massive flooding made it difficult to travel even via train. Word filtered in very slowly from the most rural areas, and in some cases was probably never reported at all. Or at least not outside of the local small-town papers.
 

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Sawmaster

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Is the last photo an anchor-bolted home that was swept away? Hard to tell due to the image size and quality.
I don't know but from what I can see it may have had plate straps instead. I think anchor bolts would be visible here as those are wider and would cast shadows helping highlight them.

Phil
 

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Filming tornadoes is and will always be a risky task but the lack of knowledge about tornadoes in the 1950's and earlier made filming them that much more dangerous. The (in)famous video of the 1953 Warner Robins, GA tornado abruptly cuts when the cameraman is either swept off his feet or drops his camera and runs for cover, and he was unfortunately among the fatalities.
Apologies for dredging this up, but someone recently asked about this and I'm trying to find some (any) documentation regarding the cameraman dying here. All help appreciated.

Phil
 

locomusic01

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Apologies for dredging this up, but someone recently asked about this and I'm trying to find some (any) documentation regarding the cameraman dying here. All help appreciated.

Phil
Nope, just a (very widely believed) urban legend. Some of the Georgia papers ran stories on the man who shot the film a while after the event; I don't remember his name now but he was very much alive. IIRC, his home was damaged but I don't think he or his family were hurt.

Edit - Usually the name given is Vincent something or other, but the name is also wrong. There was no one by that name on the list of fatalities and its not clear such a person even existed. But even if they did, they weren't the guy who shot the film.
 
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What I can find so far is conflicting. One source claiming to be Military and assisting with the S&R said he died, and mentioned the first name "Rupert" which I took to be the cameraman. With a full name it would be relatively easy to search obits, but given the time it would have taken to get the film developed I'm not sure any newspaper articles would have anything to say about that. Just taking the easy approach ATM, will dig into newspaper archives later if needed.

Phil
 

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Haven't had time to find direct sources yet, but I did a quick search to make sure I was remembering correctly and I found this comment on a Facebook post FFC did about the event:


Not sure which paper the included news clipping came from, but I know a few of the Georgia papers ran similar stories after the news came out. The whole "guy who shot the film was killed" angle is included in practically every account of the event, but I'm not sure how it originated and I've not yet seen any evidence to contradict the news reports.

Edit: I guess you can't embed a comment directly. Anyway, this is the one I'm referring to.

9JlgX52.png


And the news clipping in question.

1Smn681.jpg
 

Western_KS_Wx

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Unrelated but does anyone know of some of the most cyclic/most tornado producing supercells? The most I’ve been able to find was from the 2007 Greensburg supercell which produced a ridiculous 20 tornadoes and 9 different cycles from Protection-Greensburg-Holyrood KS. Another one that comes to mind was during the May 23, 2008 outbreak where supercell “J” dropped 15 tornadoes from Englewood-Greensburg-Great Bend KS. There’s probably been a couple more I’m missing but again those two seem to be the most I’ve been able to find.
 
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Unrelated but does anyone know of some of the most cyclic/most tornado producing supercells? The most I’ve been able to find was from the 2007 Greensburg supercell which produced a ridiculous 20 tornadoes and 9 different cycles from Protection-Greensburg-Holyrood KS. Another one that comes to mind was during the May 23, 2008 outbreak where supercell “J” dropped 15 tornadoes from Englewood-Greensburg-Great Bend KS. There’s probably been a couple more I’m missing but again those two seem to be the most I’ve been able to find.
Storms A and B from May 3, 1999. Storm A produced 14 tornadoes. B produced 20.
 

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Storms A and B from May 3, 1999. Storm A produced 14 tornadoes. B produced 20.
Yeah knew I was probably forgetting some lol. Storm B every tornado except for Mulhall was short lived and didn’t surpass F2 intensity but still 20 tornadoes is insane. I actually made a typo with the Greensburg storm its listed as having produced 22 tornadoes instead of 20.
 
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Has anyone ever done an official, full (at least the PM storms) supercell-by-supercell breakdown of 4/27/11? I don't think any storm that day was quite that prolific in terms of numbers, simply because most of the tornadoes were so long-tracked.
 

locomusic01

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Has anyone ever done an official, full (at least the PM storms) supercell-by-supercell breakdown of 4/27/11? I don't think any storm that day was quite that prolific in terms of numbers, simply because most of the tornadoes were so long-tracked.
I remember seeing a paper that has a table breaking down the top 3-4 most prolific cells. IIRC (which I probably don't) I wanna say the Cordova supercell was tops at 9. As you said, the long tracks cut down on the numbers for individual cells.
 

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"Just do New Richmond," they said. "It'll be quick and easy," they said.

90 Day Fiance Lol GIF by TLC


So, a few quick updates. I've made it to downtown New Richmond! It turns out the initial section of the path, from the south end of Lake St. Croix to New Richmond itself, is almost certainly three separate tornadoes based on eyewitness accounts + a bunch of damage points.

EI2CF2H.png


The first tornado formed over Lake St. Croix near "Catfish Bar," just south of St. Marys Point, MN. It traveled about 6.5 miles altogether, roughly half of it over the lake. It seems to have been fairly intense, reportedly debarking a grove of trees on the lakeshore and "blowing away" a couple of (probably not well-built) homes. It injured at least 5-6 people but didn't kill anyone.

The second tornado was slightly wider but only ~3.5 miles long, flattening a handful of houses and destroying a bunch of barns, outbuildings, etc. It also killed several dozen cows and horses and reportedly carried one half a mile, but again it didn't kill any people.

The third tornado is New Richmond, which apparently grew extremely quickly in both size and intensity, claiming its first life barely half a mile after touching down. Its path was much wider than is normally reported, especially around the Boardman area, where several people reported the damage was every bit as intense - if not more so - than in the city itself.

In downtown New Richmond, the deaths were of course incredibly concentrated. I haven't even added half of the total fatalities yet, and it already looks like this:

4Zqrffd.png


Btw, this doesn't even include the two buildings with the highest death tolls, where so many were killed that I'm still trying to figure out the numbers. Some of the victims were in conditions that were.. let's say not easy to count, so there's a lot of conflicting info. Possibly as many as 16 people may have died in one hotel, though I'm skeptical it was quite that high.

Anyway, New Richmond's central business district was packed at the time of the tornado, which means just.. so. many. POIs.

yUb8DAI.png


It seems the tornado may have cycled again just after leaving town and crossing Mary Park Lake, but I haven't really gotten that far yet. In fact, I suspect there were at least two or three additional tornadoes because damage continues for at least another 40-45 miles northeast of town. Speaking of which, it's weird that Grazulis and most other sources list the final tornado of the New Richmond family as having lifted somewhere around Clear Lake. The towns of Arland, Barron and Cameron (13, 23 and 28 miles NE of Clear Lake, respectively) were all 100% hit by tornadoes - possibly even the same tornado, but I'm not sure yet.

Arland was "wiped off the map." It was pretty tiny and likely not well-built, but a few people were injured and livestock was thrown hundreds of yards and killed. Multiple blocks in Barron suffered substantial damage. A few homes and at least two businesses were leveled/blown away; one woman was killed and her husband and neighbors were badly hurt. The damage in downtown Cameron was apparently pretty moderate, but I've found multiple reports that there was "great destruction" in the surrounding countryside.

In any event, the total damage path for the New Richmond family covers anywhere from 68 to ~90 miles, depending on whether the earlier tornado near Hastings, MN was from the same supercell or not. Pretty sure it was but not 100% yet. Too early to give any hard numbers on the overall death toll, but it's almost certainly higher than the official 118. Probably not way higher, but I'd expect it to end up somewhere around 125-130. There may have been as many as nine deaths NE of Boardman alone, where officially there were only three.
 
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Western_KS_Wx

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I remember seeing a paper that has a table breaking down the top 3-4 most prolific cells. IIRC (which I probably don't) I wanna say the Cordova supercell was tops at 9. As you said, the long tracks cut down on the numbers for individual cells.
Yeah the Cordova cell was the most prolific violent tornado producer that day. First dropped the Philadelphia MS EF5 then spawned a brief EF1 before crossing into Alabama where it produced the very long track Cordova EF4 that probably had EF5 potential at some point, and then dropped a second EF5 that hit Rainsville, crossed into Georgia and produced the Ringgold-Apison EF4. If I recall correctly it also might’ve produced the Chilowee Lake TN EF4 and another long tracked EF3 in TN but I’m unsure if it was the result of a cell merger or not. Still that’s some unreal stuff.
 

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"Just do New Richmond," they said. "It'll be quick and easy," they said.

90 Day Fiance Lol GIF by TLC


So, a few quick updates. I've made it to downtown New Richmond! It turns out the initial section of the path, from the south end of Lake St. Croix to New Richmond itself, is almost certainly three separate tornadoes based on eyewitness accounts + a bunch of damage points.

EI2CF2H.png


The first tornado formed over Lake St. Croix near "Catfish Bar," just south of St. Marys Point, MN. It traveled about 6.5 miles altogether, roughly half of it over the lake. It seems to have been fairly intense, reportedly debarking a grove of trees on the lakeshore and "blowing away" a couple of (probably not well-built) homes. It injured at least 5-6 people but didn't kill anyone.

The second tornado was slightly wider but only ~3.5 miles long, flattening a handful of houses and destroying a bunch of barns, outbuildings, etc. It also killed several dozen cows and horses and reportedly carried one half a mile, but again it didn't kill any people.

The third tornado is New Richmond, which apparently grew extremely quickly in both size and intensity, claiming its first life barely half a mile after touching down. Its path was much wider than is normally reported, especially around the Boardman area, where several people reported the damage was every bit as intense - if not more so - than in the city itself.

In downtown New Richmond, the deaths were of course incredibly concentrated. I haven't even added half of the total fatalities yet, and it already looks like this:

4Zqrffd.png


Btw, this doesn't even include the two buildings with the highest death tolls, where so many were killed that I'm still trying to figure out the numbers. Some of the victims were in conditions that were.. let's say not easy to count, so there's a lot of conflicting info. Possibly as many as 16 people may have died in one hotel, though I'm skeptical it was quite that high.

Anyway, New Richmond's central business district was packed at the time of the tornado, which means just.. so. many. POIs.

yUb8DAI.png


It seems the tornado may have cycled again just after leaving town and crossing Mary Park Lake, but I haven't really gotten that far yet. In fact, I suspect there were at least two or three additional tornadoes because damage continues for at least another 40-45 miles northeast of town. Speaking of which, it's weird that Grazulis and most other sources list the final tornado of the New Richmond family as having lifted somewhere around Clear Lake. The towns of Arland, Barron and Cameron (13, 23 and 28 miles NE of Clear Lake, respectively) were all 100% hit by tornadoes - possibly even the same tornado, but I'm not sure yet.

Arland was "wiped off the map." It was pretty tiny and likely not well-built, but a few people were injured and livestock was thrown hundreds of yards and killed. Multiple blocks in Barron suffered substantial damage. A few homes and at least two businesses were leveled/blown away; one woman was killed and her husband and neighbors were badly hurt. The damage in downtown Cameron was apparently pretty moderate, but I've found multiple reports that there was "great destruction" in the surrounding countryside.

In any event, the total damage path for the New Richmond family covers anywhere from 68 to ~90 miles, depending on whether the earlier tornado near Hastings, MN was from the same supercell or not. Pretty sure it was but not 100% yet. Too early to give any hard numbers on the overall death toll, but it's almost certainly higher than the official 118. Probably not way higher, but I'd expect it to end up somewhere around 125-130. There may have been as many as nine deaths NE of Boardman alone, where officially there were only three.
I really do appreciate all the work and time you put into these articles I could never have the patience to do what you do lmao. Honestly think you write up some of the most detailed and fantastically written articles on historical tornado events that I’ve ever read and I’ve read quite a bit. Little bit of a random fact but this one channel on YouTube that’s pretty popular called ‘Horror Stories’ uploaded a video about the Tri-State Tornado a while back and used your write-up as pretty much the main source for information, that video wound up getting 680,000 views which I thought was really cool considering they pretty much just read straight out of your article lol. Anyways here’s a link to the video for anyone interested:
 

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