SPC Stats

Path length: 14.6 miles

Width:  1760 yards

Fatalities:  50

Injuries:  325

Rating:  F4

County:  White

A tornado outbreak occurred on March 21, 1952.  Officially, the SPC lists 27 tornadoes with 10 given a rating of F4.  Through his research, Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes shows 7-F4 tornadoes.  This summary looks at one of those F4s.  It was the deadliest of the outbreak.

This tornado developed 2 mile SSW of Searcy, AR.  It moved to the northeast to near Kensett, through Judsonia and passing 5 miles NE of Bald Knob.  It ended near Russell.  There was considerable damage reported in Kensett.  Per the Climatological Data National Summary, the “town of Judsonia lay squarely in path of storm and was almost completely leveled.”  At least 30 people were killed in Judsonia.  385 homes were destroyed and 560 were heavily damaged.  The business section of Judsonia was almost completely demolished.  There was heavy damage in Bald Knob where 10 people were killed.  9 more were killed in rural area and 1 person died on the west edge of Russell.

Details from the March 1952 Climatological Data National Summary and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 35.22 / -91.70   End:  35.37 / -91.52      

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 March 1952 Climatological Data National Summary (CDNS) and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have the length at 14.6 miles.  
  • CDNS lists a 40 mile path.
  • Grazulis has a 22 miles path.

Width:

  • SPC/NCDC have a max with of 1760 yards (1 mile).  
  • CDNS lists a 1 1/2 mile width.
  • Grazulis has a width of 1000 yards.

    Sources:

    The Storm Prediction Center

    NCDC Storm Events Database

    March 1952 Climatological Data National Summary

    Article about this event from Arkansas Online

    Damage Photos from Judsonia, found on blog by James Skipper

    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 962.

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