SPC Stats

Path length: 48.3 miles

Width:  200 yards

Fatalities:  1

Injuries:  22

Rating:  F2

County:  Christian, Greene, Polk, Dallas

This summary looks at an F2 tornado with a long, skipping path through parts of SW Missouri on December 14, 1971.  The tornado developed just south of Billings.  Several farm buildings were destroyed here.  It moved NE toward Republic hitting the Moneyham trailer park and a residential area.  At least 12 homes were damaged.  Just west of Springfield, two mobile homes were destroyed and one man was killed. 

The Municipal airport in NW Springfield was damaged along with 35 planes. 

Near Buffalo, the Junior High School had significant damage.

Storm Data Entry

A tornado first touched down 1-1/2 miles south of Billings where a number of farm buildings were destroyed, skipped to the southwest side of Republic where a trailer park was demolished, ripped through a portion of the residential area long the west side of Republic where more than a dozen homes and a factory were damaged;  skipped over a portion of the business district and stayed on the ground moving in a northeasterly directly.  Near the intersection of I-44 and State Route 266 west of Springfield, two mobile homes were destroyed.  One man was killed in one of these mobile homes.  The tornado then pushed through the Municipal Airport at the northwest edge of Springfield damaging the terminal and 35 planes.  It then damaged a manufacturing plant on the northeast edge of the airport and lifted.  Then, it touched down only briefly in a few locations between the airport and Buffalo, doing minor damage to farm buildings.  In Buffalo, extensive damage was done to the Junior High School Building. 

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 37.03 / -93.57      End: 37.63 / -93.10

Included the NCDC county coordinates

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

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the December 1977 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 48.3 mile path length.
  • Grazulis and Storm Data have a length at 49 miles. Both list intermittent/skipping path.

Counties:

  • SPC lists Christian, Greene, Polk and Dallas Counties in the path.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis do not have Polk County.
  • The NCDC listing are not correct:  They start with Christian and go to Greene.  They then list Greene again and end with Polk.
  • The SPC coordinates plot a path that included all 4 counties.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      December 1971 Storm Data Publication

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1128.

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