SPC Stats

Path length: 19 miles

Width:  200 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  44

Rating:  F4

County:  Wabash, IL / Knox, IN

Six tornadoes were produced during the late afternoon/early evening of January 7, 1989.  The most significant tornado of the day hit the small town of Allendale, IL in Wabash County.  Per the Storm Data Narrative from January 1989, “much of the town was obliterated.”  

The tornado developed about four miles SW of Allendale or one mile NW of Patton.  It moved northeast through Allendale and into the rural areas of Wabash County.  It then crossed the Wabash River into Indiana moving into Knox County.  The tornado dissipated five miles SE of Vincennes or 1.5 miles SW of Frichton.  There is a discrepancy on the path length.  The SPC has a length of 19 miles.  The Storm Data Narrative has a length of 22 miles (seven in Illinois and 15 in Indiana).  

Per the NWS survey, the tornado began at F2 intensity and then strengthened to lower end F4 about 1/2 mile SW of Allendale.  It reached maximum F4 intensity in the southern part of Allendale.  It then dropped to F2 status by the time it hit the Wabash River and then down to F1 toward the end of its path.

Some of the damage reported:

  • Two farm houses were first damaged ~ one mile SW of Allendale.
  • Four houses were completely swept away from their foundations at the far SW corner of town.
  • Houses over a roughly seven block area on top of a hill in the main part of town were leveled.
  • City Hall on the north side of Main Street lost most of its walls.
  • The Post Office across the street from City Hall lost part of its roof.
  • An occupied mobile home SW of the Post Office was flipped onto an automobile and then onto a second occupied mobile home.  All occupants survived.
  • Portion of a church east of the Post Office remained standing while the concrete block firehouse further east was completely destroyed.
  • The brick Allendale School was extensively damaged and the upper floor was removed from the southern half of the school.

From the January 1989 Storm Data Publication:

  • The population of Allendale at the time was about 600 people.
  • 10 businesses, 47 homes and 54 vehicles were destroyed.
  • It was found later during an aerial survey of the damage that the tornado left a number of swath marks in farm fields just prior to entering the town, indication that the devastating tornado was composed of multiple suction vortices, numerous miniature but very intense tornadoes rotating about a common center.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 38.48 / -87.78: End: 38.62 / -87.43

Corrected Coordinates based on damage reports:

Start: 38.494577/-87.762363     End: 38.640940/-87.448921

Veer in path: 38.546473/-87.674497    

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Images Extracted from the January 1989 Storm Data Publication

Remembering the Allendale Violent F4 Tornado - Blog via Chad Evans with 44 News


Allendale tornado 1989 aftermath. Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency videos Allendale from the air and walks through the town.  Posted by the Village of Allendale.

Newspaper Clippings


We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the January 1989 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 19 mile path.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis have a 22 mile path.


  • Grazulis has a width of 150 yards.
  • Remaining sources have a 200 yard width.

Start Time:

  • SPC/NCDC have a start time of 1724 CT.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis have a start time of 1719 CT.


        The Storm Prediction Center

        NCDC Storm Events Database

        January 1989 Storm Data Publication989


        Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1285.