This twister was described by the NWS as “an extremely powerful, but compact tornado.” It was given a rating of F4 and was the strongest of the 13 that occurred across parts of the southern US on January 19, 1988.
The tornado formed east of Bemis and tracked NE for 16 miles. It trekked through the southern part of Jackson. The Hollywood Shopping Center had severe damage. A funeral home near it was demolished except for interior rooms. 200+ homes were destroyed and 300 more had lesser damage. One of the hardest hit subdivisions was Orchard Hill.
A strong occluded front moved across the Columbia Basin. At 9am PT, several people witnessed a tornado develop just south of US Highway 12, one mile SW of Dayton. In this area, the second story of a barn was damaged and a mobile home was flipped over.
The tornado developed 10 miles east of Americus in rural Sumter County and moved east for 2 miles. A mobile home was being towed by a tractor-trailer. It was blown on top of the cab, killing the driver. Many trees were downed. A boat house was destroyed at Lake Blackshear on the Flint River.
The tornado developed in Junction City. The NWS survey notes the path was continuous for its entire path, which was a total of 24 miles.