This summary looks back at the tornadoes of February 26, 1958.  The SPC database lists 14 tornadoes, half of these in the state of Mississippi.  Three of the twisters listed have extremely long, continuous path lengths:

  1. 95.5 mile path through Smith, Newton, Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
  2. 68.7 mile path through Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, Madison and Leake Counties.
  3. 71 mile path through Simpson, Rankin, Scott, Leake and Neshoba Counties.

Tornado #1

Using the SPC & NCDC Databases, the February 1958 Climatological Data National Summary (CDNS) and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes, it would appear that first tornado was entered incorrectly and it is unknown what exactly happened in this area.  The tornado is in the SPC Database as an F1 with a start time of 19:00.  Here is what was found in our resources:

  1. The only entry for Smith County in the CDNS is for a “short” path and “narrow” width near Raleigh.  The time stamp matches. It is also noted as a “suspected” tornado.  Passage of apparent tornado through the forest.  No homes or other buildings hit.  Grazulis does not have a listing for this tornado.
  2. The NCDC has an entry for Smith County but no other counties and has entire path of 95.5 miles listed there.
  3. No entry in the CDNS or Grazulis for Newton County. 
  4. Neshoba County is listed in CDNS and Grazulis but as a part of another tornado (or family of tornadoes).  And it was given a rating of F3.
  5. No entry in the CDNS or Grazulis for Kemper County.

This summary will focus on Tornado #2 and #3.  Although both are listed in the SPC database as having long, continuous paths, there is evidence in our sources that the paths were either skipping OR we actually are looking at a family of tornadoes in both cases.  Regardless, a great deal of ground was covered by both events.

Tornado #2

Counties:  Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, Madison and Leake Counties in MS

Per SPC:  Rating was F3, path length was 69.7 miles, max width was 60 yards, there were 26 injuries and 8 fatalities.

Information from the CDNS Summary: Tornado began about 9 miles west of Crystal Springs and moved northeastward over sparsely settled land, occasionally lifting, across southeast edge of Jackson where TV tower blown down, to Luckney community where heaviest damage occurred; then through Pearl River swamps almost paralleling river to strike Farmhaven and Pine Grove Communities. 6 deaths occurred at Farmhaven.

Discrepancies:

Path Length:

  • SPC and NCDC have 69.7 miles as the path.
  • CDNS lists 65 mile path.
  • Grazulis has 60 mile path and notes probably a family of tornadoes.

Width:

  • SPC and NCDC have max with of 60 yards.
  • CDNS have range of width from 20-75 yards.
  • Grazulis has width of 70 yards.

Injuries and Fatalities:

  • SPC and NCDC list 26 injuries and 8 fatalities.
  • CDNS has 7 fatalities and 24 injuries.
  • Grazulis lists 24 injuries.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 31.98 / -90.53   End:  32.72 / -89.72      

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

Newspaper Clippings

Tornado #3

Counties:  Simpson, Rankin, Scott, Leake & Neshoba Counties in MS

Per SPCRating was F3, path length was 71 miles, max width was 60 yards, there were 34 injuries and 1 fatality.

Information from the CDNS Summary:  Tornado moved northeastward from just northeast of Harrisville, struck Piney Woods School where damage heavy to 2-story or higher buildings, then across sparsely settled land to Walnut Grove, passing 4 miles west of Morton, and on to Laurel Hill.  No path visible north of Morton, indicating it lifted and let down again as it reached Walnut Grove which sloped upward in line of advance.  Buildings at bottom of slop exploded, but upslope damage increased to toal destruction with debris scattered.  Roofs lifted off, with furniture and persons carried upward after the roofs.  75 percent of homes destroyed in Walnut Grove.

Discrepancies:

Path Length:

  • SPC and NCDC have 71 miles as the path.
  • CDNS lists 65 mile path.
  • Grazulis has 65 mile path and notes probably a family of tornadoes.

Max Width:

  • SPC and NCDC have max with of 60 yards.
  • CDNS have range of width from 25-100 yards.
  • Grazulis has width of 70 yards.

    Tornado Path

    Click Map To Enlarge

    SPC coordinates:  Start: 31.97 / -90.10   End:  32.73 / -89.30      

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

    Newspaper Clippings

    Sources:

    The Storm Prediction Center

    NCDC Storm Events Database

    February 1958 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 1013.

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