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.

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.

Cary-Pugh City-Tillatoba, MS, F4 Tornado – February 21, 1971 (PREMIUM)

The second of the “big three” twisters in the 1971 Delta Outbreak was the deadliest United States tornado of the 1970s. In fact, it was the last to cause more than 50 fatalities in the country until 2011. This vortex struck no major population centers, but its longevity and ferocity were of the kind that is rarely matched. The profoundly moving accounts we have compiled tell the story of what is nationally the worst single tornado track of the late 20th century.

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