SPC Stats

Path length: 34 miles

Width:  440 yards

Fatalities:  3

Injuries:  16

Rating:  F3

County:  Marion, Baxter

There were 4 tornadoes on November 18, 1985.  The strongest was an F3 that moved through during the late evening through parts of Marion and Baxter Counties in Arkansas.  It traveled a good 34 miles causing damage from the community of Ralph to Rea Valley to the SE part of Mountain Home to the north side of Norfolk Lake.  Storm Data states that 143 homes, 25 mobile homes, 7 businesses, 3 churches, 1 junior high and the County Fairgrounds all had some damage.  There were 3 fatalities in Marion County. Here is a clip from the November 20, 1985 edition of the Baxter Bulletin: 

The historic Casey House, located in Mountain Home had significant damage.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Per an article on the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society website, the Case House is the oldest still-standing structure in Mountain Home.  It was built in 1858 by Col. Randolph Casey.  It was repaired after the tornado.  Some new wood was added, the foundation stones though are still original.  

Storm Data Entry

A strong tornado moved northeast at about 50 mph.  Initial touchdown was on the west side of Highway 14, one mile north of Ralph.  It moved in a straight line to one mile north of Rea Valley, to the southeast part of Mountain Home, to the north side of Norfork Lake about where Highway 101 starts.  In all, 143 homes, 25 mobile homes, 7 businesses, 3 churches, 1 junio6 high school, and the County Fairgrounds were damaged by the tornado.  Two fatalities occurred in the neighborhood of Ralph and a third in Rea Valley, all in Marion County.  Several of the inured needed hospitalization.  Of the 16 injuries, 3 of them were in Baxter County, and they were minor injuries.  One of the homes destroyed in Mountain Home was on the National Register of Historic Places – The Casey Home.  Total damages were estimated at 7 million dollars, including 2 million in power line damage. 

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 36.18  / -92.67     End:  36.45  / -92.23

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 November 1985 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Width:

  • Grazulis has a width of 400 yards.
  • Remaining sources have a width of 440 yards.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      November 1985 Storm Data Publication

      Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society

      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 1271.

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