The Xenia, OH F5 Tornado – April 3, 1974

On a day that has lived in infamy, the city of Xenia, OH, fell victim to the deadliest of 148 twisters during the April 3-4, 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak. Its track began southwest of the community before the vortex shredded through neighborhoods and the downtown district. From there, the storm continued its reign of terror into the towns of Wilberforce and Cedarville before lifting in rural Clark County. Over the following days, the loss of life rose to 36 people, the majority of which were in Xenia.

To an average reader, the name “Xenia” may be synonymous with “tornado,” “death,” or “destruction.” Over the following decades, a plethora of media and narratives on this event have been distributed in every format imaginable; on the surface, that is what many people will find with a “Xenia” search. But it’s the fine details of history that disappear over time. What happened to the lost loved ones, and who were they? Who were the heroes in the heat of the battle? And while Xenia is deservedly the focal point of this tragedy, they were not alone. From the twister’s origin to its dissipation, this work aims to share the survivors’ stories, preserve their memories, and document all of the damage and surrounding history.

Guin, AL F5 Tornado – April 3, 1974

On April 3, 1974, an unprecedented number of violent tornadoes raged through the Ohio River Valley. By evening, over a hundred had died in the Midwest. Even as the sun went down and activity in the northern half of the outbreak drew to a close, new malestroms ravaged the South. No state saw more suffering than Alabama.

It was into this chaotic atmosphere that one of the most notorious twisters in regional history was born. Under the cover of darkness, it sliced for two and a half hours through rural communities between Lowndes County, MS, and Morgan County, AL. When the deadliest single tornado in the state since 1932 finally dissipated, it had claimed 30 Alabamian lives and traveled over a hundred miles. Most notably, the town of Guin, AL, was nearly wiped off the face of the Earth, suffering the most significant loss of life.

While the knowledge of Guin’s fate is deservingly prevalent, intricate details of this disaster have faded over the following decades. Communities such as Yampertown, Delmar, Oakville, Basham, and more, faced great destruction in their own right. Across the entire path, this work aims to share the stories of the survivors, to preserve the memories of the victims, and to document all of the damage and surrounding history.

Overview of the Ringgold-Apison-Cleveland, GA-TN, EF4 Tornado – April 27, 2011

An extremely powerful tornado moved through the communities of Ringgold, Apison, and Cleveland during the evening of April 27, 2011. One of the most violent tornadoes to ever hit the area, this monster took the lives of 24 people and injured roughly 667. In order to fully tell the stories of the places affected and how they dealt with the disaster, the track has been divided into two summaries.

Vicksburg, MS F5 Tornado – December 5, 1953

‘They had always said Vicksburg would never have a tornado because of the river’ – Marie Renaud, survivor of the 1953 Vicksburg Tornado. Marie was interviewed by the NWS Jackson for the 60th anniversary of the tornado. She was 11 years old when the tornado hit. She, like many Vicksburg, MS residents believed that the river would protect them from a tornado. Unfortunately, on December 5, 1953, a destructive twister crossed over the Mighty Mississippi and directly hit the town of Vicksburg.

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