This summary looks back at a possible tornado family that moved through parts of Monroe, Cumberland, Adair and Russell Counties in Kentucky.  Information for this event came from the following resources:

  • Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes
  • NWS Louisville
  • Newspaper articles via newspapers.com

Here are the stats on this event from Thomas Grazulis & the NWS Louisville:

Hit at 2030 local time.  There were 87 injuries and 36 fatalities.  The path length was 60 miles and the width 800 yards.  Rating given:  F4.  

The NWS in Louisville has a summary about what occurred during this event.  Here is a breakdown of details:

  • The event began at 8pm local time with rain and hail in the Tompkinsville area.  Then 5 minutes of calm set in.
  • At approximately 830pm, the tornado developed just SW of Tompkinsville and moved directly over the town.
  • The “Negro Section” was hit.  This is how newspapers described it in 1933.
  • The damaged residences of O. C. Landrum and Oscar Sims marked the edges of the devastation. Between them was a treeless and fenceless waste, with scattered remnants of homes and uprooted trees.
  • A heavy rain, which fell continuously from 1 o’clock until 6 the following morning, made roads almost impassable and handicapped the work of rehabilitation.
  • Only three homes that were affected by the funnel were able to be salvaged.
  • World War I veterans described the devastation and suffering as worse than what they witnessed during the Great War.
  • The twisting nature of the winds was clearly revealed when the bodies of the Tyree family were found 75 yards south of their home site, and the bodies of the Redeford family were discovered 100 yards north of the spot where their home had stood. The Tyrees lived on the southern edge of the storm area, while the Redefords lived near the northern edge. The body of the Rev. Redeford’s wife was carried 150 yards to a pond on the land belonging to L. P. Hagan. The corpse of the husband was found entangled in a barbed wire fence, having been blown about one hundred yards.
  • Sixteen people in Tompkinsville lost their lives that evening, with another 2 deaths just northeast of town in Sewell.
  • Fifty citizens were injured in Monroe County.
  • After Tompkinsville, the tornado continued to the northeast, crossing Cumberland County (2 people injured) and clipping the southeast corner of Adair County (2 people killed in the Cundiff area) with comparatively little damage, before intensifying again as it entered Russell County.
  • The tornado grew into a mile-wide monster as it plowed down at least 100 homes.
  • The edge of the tornado missed downtown Russell Springs by only half a mile.
  • The tornado spent its last fury in the Happy Acre area, causing damage along Goose Creek, near Friendship Church, and on the southern end of Bethany Ridge where chickens were stripped of their feathers.
  • The tornado lifted at the Casey County line.
  • Fatality counts for Russell County vary from 14 to 20 depending on the source.  
  • Up to 100 people may have been injured in Russell County.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

Since we don’t have official coordinates, I used the information from The NWS Louisville and Thomas Grazulis to map the tornado track.  The tornado developed SW of Tompkinsville and moved right through town.  It moved NE through Cumberland County and into SE Adair County.  The Cundiff area was mentioned.  It moved into Russell County, roaring near Russell Springs.  Lifted near Casey County line.     

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

Newspaper Clippings

Sources:

newspapers.com

Summary by NWS Louisville

Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 851.

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