SPC Stats

Path length: 21.6 miles

Width:  100 yards

Fatalities:  4

Injuries:  50

Rating:  F4

County:  Morgan

After a devastating day with 27 tornadoes on March 21, 1952, parts of the south were once again dealing with severe weather on March 22.  This time 4 tornadoes were confirmed in TN, KY and AL.  This narrative will look into the details of the strongest tornado that occurred on this day.  It was given a rating of F4 and traveled through parts of Morgan and Madison Counties in Alabama.

Information for this event was gathered from the SPC Database, the March 1952 Climatological Data National Summary (CDNS) and Significant Tornadoes by Thomas Grazulis.   First of all, the SPC only lists Morgan County in the path.  CDNS and Grazulis list Morgan and Madison.

CDNS did not give much detail on this event.  They provided broad information on damage in Morgan and Madison County.  They did mention damage in the community of Redstone Arsenal.

Grazulis gives much more detail.  One of the major differences is the tornado path.  He states the following:  “Moved NE from Massey, passing west of Falkville, to near Hartselle, Winton, and to the Redstone Arsenal.”  When you plot the official SPC coordinates, the path is completely different.  It starts near Decatur, due north of Massey.  It does end near Redstone Arsenal.  But that starting point is incorrect.  

35 homes were destroyed, 39 damaged in Morgan County.  Per Grazulis some were “leveled to the ground” in the communities of Massey and Plainview.  In Madison County, 4 buildings were destroyed, 6 damaged.  Many buildings at Redstone Arsenal sustained damage.

All sources list 4 fatalities.  Per Grazulis, an elderly couple were killed at Plainview.  There was a fatality west of Falkville and in Winton.

I found a newspaper clip that lists 5 fatalities:

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 34.60 / -87.00   End:  34.68 / -86.63      

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 21.6 miles.  
  • CDNS & Grazulis have a 25 mile path.

Counties:

  • SPC/NCDC only list Morgan County.
  • CDNS and Grazulis have Morgan and Madison County in the path.

    Sources:

    The Storm Prediction Center

    NCDC Storm Events Database

    March 1952 Climatological Data National Summary

    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 963.

    Did you enjoy reading about this event?  Help us create MORE summaries like this one by becoming a Supporter on Patreon!

     Become a Patron! 


     

    Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here: http://tornadotalk.com/contact-us/

    Join the tornado history discussion on our Discord Channel:  https://discordapp.com/invite/Xm43dQj

    X