“There had been no disaster so great in Greensboro’s history.  And there has never been one since.” (Greensboro News & Record, April 2016). 

This summary looks back at an estimated F4 tornado from April 2, 1936.  It crossed through parts of Guilford County, NC and the town of Greensboro.  It was one of several tornadoes the pressed through the southeast April 1 and 2 of 1936.  Information for this event came from the following resources:

  • Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes
  • May 1936 Monthly Weather Review
  • Newspaper articles via newspapers.com
  • Archived articles from the Greensboro News & Record

Here are the stats on this event from Thomas Grazulis:

Hit at 1912 local time.  There were 144 injuries and 14 fatalities.  The path length was 11 miles and the width 100 yards.  Rating given:  F4.  

Details from Grazulis:

  • Moved to the ENE along the south side of Greensboro.
  • ~300 buildings damaged/destroyed in a narrow, 3 mile long path at Greensboro.
  • Damage estimated at $2,000,000.
  • 14 deaths in 9 different homes
  • Newspapers many years later note 17 deaths.  

Details from the May 1936 Monthly Weather Review

Article title:  Tornado Disasters in the Southeastern States, April 1936

By J.B. Kincer, Weather Bureau, Washingon

The first series of storms came to an end at Greensboro, N. C., about 12 hours after the occurrence at Lodge, S. C., when the most destructive tornado of record in North Carolina struck that city soon after 7 p. m. on April 2.  Its path was 7 miles long and varied from 50 to 800 feet in width.  In its wake the casualties counted included 13 persons killed, 144 injured, and 289 buildings demolished, 56 of which were totally wrecked; property damage is estimated at $2,000,000.”

Additional Details from newspapers:

On April 2, 2016, the Greensboro News & Record produced an article about this event.  It is found here.  Here are some of the details:

  • Five Points Café was leveled: 2 dishwashers, 2 customers, 2 people who ducked inside when they saw the tornado coming were killed.
  • Home on McAdoo Avenue was caught on fire after the tornado went through, a woman and her 8 year old daughter died. This would be an indirect death associated with the tornado.  Unclear if this is included in the official death toll.
  • Their neighbor was killed under the weight of fallen beams.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

Since we don’t have official coordinates, I used the information from Thomas Grazulis to map the tornado track.  He stated the tornado moved ENE along the south side of Greensboro.  Total path length given:  11 miles.  

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

Newspaper Clippings

Sources:

newspapers.com

May 1936 Monthly Weather Review

Moffett, Margaret. “Tornado of 1936 Spawned Death, Destruction in South Greensboro.” Greensboro News and Record, 2 Apr. 2016, www.greensboro.com/news/tornado-of-spawned-death-destruction-in-south-greensboro/article_59170117-9c34-59ce-b8fa-7070030dbca1.html.

 Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 865.

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