SPC Stats

Path length: 11 miles

Width:  267 yards

Fatalities:  2

Injuries:  25

Rating:  F4

County:  Rush

A significant tornado crossed through parts of Rush County, IN on July 9, 1980.  There was a total 9 tornadoes that day across 4 states.  The strongest was this F4 in Rush County.  It began in an open field and tracked southeast. Two miles south of Rushville, 3 homes were leveled and there were 2 deaths in 2 separate homes.  After traveling SE for about 5 more miles, the tornado made an abrupt 120 degree turn and traveled in a southerly direction. It dissipated 1 mile SW of New Salem.  

In all, 10 homes and 48 farm buildings were completely destroyed.  Numerous other homes, buildings and business were heavily damaged. There were 25 injuries.

Storm Data Entry

Deaths: 2; Injuries: 25 (9 hospitalized)

Damage to buildings:  $2,500,000

Damage to agriculture:  $180,000

The tornado first touched down in open fields between US Highway 52 and SR 44 about 2 miles west of Rushville.  The first report of damage was to commercial establishments on SR 44, 2 miles SW of Rushville.

The tornado continued 3 miles ESE to SR3, 2 miles south of Rushville, where it was an F4, about 800’ wide.  At this point, 3 homes were leveled and 2 deaths occurred in two separate houses.  The tornado continued east for five additional miles, then made an abrupt 120 degree turn right and curved back to the south, dissipating one mile southwest of New Salem.  In the final three miles, the damage path appeared typical of a “rope” stage tornado, less than 100’ in width.  

The track exhibited all the characteristics of rotary damage, complete with Fujita suction vortices.

Total path length was 13 miles.  Ten homes were totally destroyed, 13 additional were not livable and an additional 9 had substantial damage.  There were 48 farm buildings destroyed and 3 businesses were heavily damaged.

Radar, personal interviews and Indiana State Police information places touchdown at 935pm EST with final dissipation at 1010pm. A speed of 25 mph toward the SE was indicated by radar.

Victims interviewed took shelter when they saw the tornado approaching less than several hundred feet away.  None made it to a planned safe spot, but south refuge in bathtubs, halls, etc.  All were aware to varying degrees of the severe weather watches and warnings in existence elsewhere in Indiana.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 39.62 / -85.48   End:  39.52 / -85.37      

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 July 1980 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • Storm Data has a length of 13 miles.
  • Remaining sources have a 11 mile length.

Width:

  • SPC/NCDC has a width of 267 yards.
  • Storm Data lists 266 yards.  Within they summary they lists different width in feet.
  • Grazulis has not width listed.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      July 1980 Storm Data Publication

      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 1225.

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